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“Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: ‘Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise. So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.”—Mark 12:18–27 (NKJV)
There are certain spiritual things that God, in His wisdom, has left unresolved for us in this life. How can God be three persons yet one being simultaneously? How can God remain sovereign and people have a free moral will? How can we fathom the concept of eternity when all we know is life constrained by time? Admittedly, these are spiritual mysteries we don’t have full understanding of in this life, and God has seen fit to keep them mysterious.
However, when it comes to the spiritual subject of the resurrection, God has given us an abundance of understanding on it so we can trust it as true. He does not want us to leave this life being uncertain of the resurrection’s reality. We see this in yet another religious confrontation that Jesus has, this time with the sect of the Sadducees. The one thing we need to understand about them is that they rejected the resurrection and sought to disprove it by engaging Jesus in a hypothetical scenario relating to how widows should be treated by their husband’s brother(s).
Notice how they start out by using Moses’ writings (Deuteronomy 25:5), which prescribes that a widow could marry her husband’s brother in order to preserve the family’s lineage. The Sadducees take this provision of ancestral survival to an extreme by playing the “what if” game. What if a woman married eight times under this Law, whose wife will she be when resurrected from the dead? Their strategy was to find fundamental fault with the resurrection, and to embarrass Jesus for believing in such a notion.
As expected, He flips the script on them by systematically dismantling their objection to the resurrection by exposing their lack of understanding when it comes to the afterlife. Their scenario falls apart because in the next life, the union of marriage doesn’t exist—doing away with their supposed dilemma. But then He takes it a step further by affirming the resurrection (using Moses, no less) by reminding them that although Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob died centuries ago, God is still in a state of relationship with them and will continue to be so until they are raised at the resurrection. Point, set, match!
Again, the importance here is that Jesus unequivocally upheld the reality of the resurrection. This means we have His word on it that though our bodies die in this life, we look ahead to the hope of the resurrection, which Jesus taught and modeled for us!
Pause: What was really at stake in this confrontation?
Practice: Consider how the resurrection’s reality impacts your life here and now.
Pray: Lord, may I never lose sight of the precious promise that You have set before me that because You live, I will live too! Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.