Summary: A sermon on Jesus’ Passion Week controversy with the Sadducees about the resurrection.
The Living God of Living Men Matt. 22:23-33
INTRO. Tuesday of Passion Week was a day of great controversy with the religious leaders of the Jews. In their turn, the Sadducees ask Him a question about Levirite Marriage based on Deut. 25:5, 6. No doubt they had heard Him teach of the resurrection and may have heard rumors of His raising the dead. Their question is calculated to make the issue of resurrection seem absurd.
Instead, Jesus vindicates His teaching, reveals the source of their error and the crowd is left marveling at His wisdom.
I’m convinced many of our errors in religious issues spring from the same source as did the error of the Sadducees. Let’s look at them.
I. They erred because they did not know the Scriptures:
A. They believed only the Pentateuch is inspired by God.
1. There is no argument for the resurrection to be found there.
2. They studied the Scriptures only to prove what they had already decided to be true.
3. But, Jesus, with His gift for making Truth obvious, showed even their own Scriptures proved them wrong.
B. They denied the existence of man’s eternal spirit.
1. They felt when the body dies, nothing is left.
2. Jesus shows the absurdity of the “God of nothing” doctrine.
3. Once having demonstrated the existence of spirit, it is easy to believe in resurrection.
C. They argued from the Pharisaic premise: “If there is an afterlife, it must be just like this one.”
1. Pharisees believed we would be raised with same afflictions we had when alive. Otherwise, we would “not be the same person.”
2. Therefore, if one died a widow, or a wife, she would be the same in the resurrection.
3. They even discussed what clothing, if any we will wear in the resurrection.
4. But, eternity is not just a continuation of this life. I Cor. 15:50
D. Jesus said men will be like angels:
1. Did He mean no gender? No sex?
2. He only said, “no marriage.” Be careful not to stretch this beyond what He said.
3. Marriage is a means of intimacy intended to symbolize the unity of the race.
4. Angels are perfectly united in mind and heart. They do not need a physical expression of this.
II. They erred because they did not know the power of God.
A. They implied the resurrection cannot be real for it is too complicated:
1. They felt even God could not handle the problems involved.
2. We raise similar issues: heart transplants an example. We ask “Whose heart will it be?”
3. We worry about cremation, consumption by animals, etc. How can God raise such bodies?
4. These become problematic because we do not know the power of God.
B. God has absolute power over the material creation:
1. He spoke the universe into existence.
2. He established the “natural laws” we depend on.
3. Surely, He can re-create our bodies so as to house eternal spirits in them.
C. These poor Sadducees didn’t recognize God’s power in Jesus.
1. He had raised three bodies already. They must have heard.
2. They didn’t know, for they refused knowledge.
3. He spoke with total authority in v. 30, but they couldn’t accept His authority or God’s power.