TURN TO SCRIPTURE
Lord, I pray for those who would try to make me look foolish.
Read MATTHEW 22:23–33
Marriage at the Resurrection
23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
New International Version (NIV)
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Recall an incident where your Christian faith was mocked. How did it feel? What were your reactions?
I enjoy a good puzzle, a Sudoku or a crossword, particularly when on holiday. So the Sadducees, the priestly aristocracy, come to Jesus with a similar brainteaser. They take a familiar situation, the life of a widow, and push it to its limit, what we term “reductio ad absurdum.” Whose wife will she be at the resurrection? The question is absurd, even more so since the Sadducees don’t believe in a resurrection anyway. To them, the soul dies along with the body. So what’s going on? Rather than initiating a genuine theological discussion, it appears that the Sadducees simply want to make Jesus look foolish.
I find being made to look a fool intolerable. It undermines my self-confidence and questions my intellect, my ability, my knowledge, my common sense, and my maturity. It has happened within the purview of church—a biting comment in a house study group, insincere questioning of my interpretation of a Bible passage, criticism of my pastoral sensitivity—but it is more often a tactic used by those who have no time for my faith (or any faith at all). Ridiculing and undermining are used to bolster their view of the world. I’m reduced to biting my tongue at best, but I can be tempted to bite back defensively with words I will come to regret.
Jesus’ response is to turn to Scripture. It’s objective. This is what it says. To the Sadducees, well versed in the Torah, the quotation cannot be denied. They have to consider the passage and are reduced to silence (34). The reaction of the crowd (33) illustrates that Jesus is a teacher who commands respect.
Scripture is our bedrock, even when others don’t accept its value. Commit yourself to study and to memorizing some key passages.
Lord, help us never to be accused of not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.
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