Markby Robert M. Solomon
Unlike the Pharisees, the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. They considered only the first five books of the Old Testament (the Torah) as authoritative and claimed that they do not teach about a resurrection. Their trick question had to do with an Old Testament provision for Levirate marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5; cf. Ruth 3:9; 4:10). They gave a case study (probably cooked up) of a woman who had seven husbands who were brothers-one after another. The trick question: ″At the resurrection, whose wife will she be?″ (v. 23). This was not an innocent question; it was set to trap Jesus (and perhaps also as a side dig at the Pharisees).
Jesus gave a fairly long answer. Firstly, he confirmed that there will be a resurrection and an afterlife (″When the dead rise″; v. 25). He used Scripture, from the Torah of Moses itself (Exodus 3:6), to explain this-using the term ″the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob″ (v. 26). God is present with all generations, even those from the past. He is the God of the living (v. 27). Secondly He showed that their idea of heaven was wrong. It will be a different order; there will be no marriage. People will be like the angels (v. 25), which the Sadducees didn't believe in (Acts 23:8). The only family in heaven will be the family of God where God is the Father and everyone will be His child. We will all be brothers and sisters in Christ. There would be no need for marriage as there would be no need to procreate as on earth (Genesis 1:28; 9:1).
The Lord's answer challenged the distorted beliefs and thinking of the Sadducees. This was sweet news to the shrewd Pharisees (teachers of the law) who responded ″Well said, teacher!″ (Luke 20:39). For a moment, they forgot their mission to entrap Jesus and commended Him. Why? They were opposed to the Sadducees on doctrinal issues (cf. Paul's use of this division for his own defence in Acts 23:6-10). But Jesus did not accept the compliment. He knew their wicked hearts.
Jesus faulted the Sadducees for their ignorance about two things: God's Word and God's power (v. 24). They knew neither God's truth nor His almighty power. Their rejection of the resurrection was an indication of their ignorance. They thought they had figured out everything in God's Word and understood all He could do, when in fact they knew nothing. How can they be trusted as leaders?
The Sadducees read only the Torah. Why is selective reading of Scripture dangerous? Resolve and study the whole of God's Word-all 66 books in the Bible.
Why does lack of knowledge of God's Word and God's power produce error? Can you think of some contemporary examples of people being ″badly mistaken″ (v. 27)? What steps can you take to know the Scriptures and God's power better?