Summary: As we understand the promise of eternal life we put ourselves in a position to receive it.
The Messiah's Promise of Eternal Life
Text: Matt. 22:23-33
1. Illustration: Charles Spurgeon offers this warning: "If you haven’t looked at Christ on the cross, you’ll have to look at Him on the throne—with great trembling. The sacrificial death of Christ will be brought before the eyes of all who refuse to accept His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. In Bethlehem He came in mercy to forgive sin. In the future He will come on the clouds in glory to establish justice. What will we do without a Savior? On the day of judgment there is nothing we can do if we have not trusted Christ."
2. One of the great promises that God gives us is the promise of eternal life. In order to receive eternal life we must understand three important things...
a. The Resurrection
b. The Power of God
c. The Nature of God
3. Let's stand as we read together Matt. 22:23-33
Proposition: As we understand the promise of eternal life we put ourselves in a position to receive it.
Transition: The first thing we must understand is...
I. The Resurrection (23-28).
A. Whose Wife Will She Be
1. Let us remember that this takes place during the Passover Week and by the end of this week Jesus would be crucified on the cross.
a. During this week everyone who was opposed to Jesus took shots at Jesus trying to come up with a reason to get rid of him.
b. The Pharisees have certainly taken their shots at him, and so have the Herodians.
c. Now we see the Sadducees turn to take a shot at him.
2. Matthew tells us, "That same day Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead..."
a. So who are these Sadducees?
b. This prominent Jewish sect, though not so numerous as their opponents, the Pharisees, by their wealth and the priestly descent of many of them had an influence which fully balanced that of their more popular rivals.
c. They were a political party, of priestly and aristocratic tendency, as against the more religious and democratic Pharisees (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).
d. They left no room for the supernatural in their beliefs. They did not believe in miracles, angels, spirits, a final judgment, or a coming Messiah (Horton, 479).
e. In ancient Judaism the Sadducees were especially notorious for not believing in resurrection;
f. Rabbis who considered themselves successors of the Pharisees often classified Sadducees as heretics for this view (although the Sadducees, who vanished in the years after a.d. 70, were no longer around to respond) (Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
3. Then Matthew tells us, "They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name.’"
a. The Sadducees’ question concerns the law of levirate marriage, a custom practiced in many cultures both in antiquity and today (see Deut. 25:5).
b. It provides economic and social protection to widows in certain kinds of family-oriented societies where women cannot earn wages.
c. Students of Jewish law were still expounding this Old Testament principle in Jesus’ day and afterward (Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
d. It is not surprising that they would bring Jesus a question about the resurrection since everyone knew they didn't believe in it.
e. They thought they were backing Jesus into a corner that would make the doctrine of the resurrection look absurd.
f. People will often use ridicule as a weapon when they have no valid arguments against a truth they do not want to accept.
g. Furthermore, they thought that it was an unanswerable question. Not only did they not believe in the resurrection but they also only accept the five books of Moses (Gen. - Deut.) as being authoritative Scripture.
h. Since they didn't believe that these books addressed the topic they thought they had him right where they wanted him.
i. It would make them look good and would destroy Jesus reputation (Horton, 479).
4. Their question continues with, "Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children, so his brother married the widow. But the second brother also died, and the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them. Last of all, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.”
a. In this scenario we are dealing with a woman with really bad luck. She not only outlives her husband, but also all six of his brothers.
b. Marrying this woman is like signing your death warrant!