INCOMPARABLY GREAT POWER
Lord, I believe in the resurrection of the dead.
Read Mark 12:18–27
Marriage at the Resurrection
18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection[a] whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[b]? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”
a Mark 12:23 Some manuscripts resurrection, when people rise from the dead,
b Mark 12:26 Exodus 3:6
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Praise be to … God … In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet 1:3).
The resurrection is central to the Christian faith: it is our “living hope”. Yet, today many dismiss it as preposterous. This opposition is not new. The Sadducees are a conservative set of Jews who hold only to the first five books of the Old Testament –the Law (Cole, 1995, p264). They reject the idea of the resurrection of the dead (18) and seek to discredit Jesus and his teachings by showing the doctrine of resurrection to be incompatible with the Law. By using an exaggerated example of levirate marriage, they try to invalidate a belief in the resurrection (19–23) (Deut 25:5–10; Hendriksen, 1975, p486), i.e., which of the seven husbands would remain the woman’s true husband at the resurrection?
Jesus makes it clear that the Sadducees’ doctrine is erroneous (24–27). First, they “do not know the Scriptures” (24). The idea of the resurrection is present in the wider Old Testament (eg., Dan 12:2;Job 19:25, 26). Jesus even uses a portion of the Law (Exod 3:6) to refer to the resurrection (26): years after the deaths of the patriarchs, God said to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. He remains their God; and “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (27).
Second, the Sadducees are in error because they do not believe that God is able to raise the dead. For those of us already convinced that God can raise the dead, perhaps we have the opposite problem: perhaps we are so familiar with this doctrine that we have overlooked the magnitude of the power needed to overcome sin and death in raising Christ – and one day us – from the dead.
Meditate on Ephesians 1:18–20. Praise God for His resurrection power and the living hope it brings. Where else do you need that power at work today?
Father, our great hope lies in our conviction that as You raised Your Son, You will raise us, too.
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