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Luke 20:27-38

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 4, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing this book about Jesus, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.

We are now on the homestretch of Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus is now in Jerusalem, on His way to be crucified. 

Luke has reminded us of what Jesus’ main purpose was in life:

(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

We saw Jesus arrive in Jerusalem on a Sunday, to the shouts of an adoring crowd, crying “Hosanna”.

The next morning, on Monday, Jesus came into the Temple and cleared out those who were ripping the people off .

He then began to teach in the Temple, as He would every day until He would be arrested.

We’ve been seeing how His teaching has been interrupted by spies from the religious leaders who are trying to trip Him up so He can be arrested.

20:27-38 Sadducee Resurrection

:27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,

came toproserchomai – to come to, approach

SadduceesSaddoukaios – “the righteous”

denyantilego (“against” + “speak”)  – to speak against, gainsay, contradict

resurrectionanastasis – a raising up, rising (e.g. from a seat)

:27 some of the Sadducees

Last week we looked at the makeup of the people who were trying to trip Jesus up.

The Herodians were mostly a political group, being “pro-Herod” and “pro-Rome”.

They were the guys behind the issue we dealt with last week, paying taxes to Caesar.

The Pharisees were a conservative religious group.

They believed in miracles, angels, and a resurrection.
They believed the entire Old Testament was inspired by God.
They strived to obey the Law of Moses, but only outwardly.
We’ll deal with the Pharisee challenge next week.

The Sadducees were a liberal religious group.

They didn’t believe in miracles, angels, or a resurrection.
That’s why they were “sad-you-see”.
They only believed the first five books of the Old Testament (Torah) to be inspired by God.
Today it’s the Sadducees turn to challenge Jesus.

Though the Pharisees and the Sadducees worked together to have Jesus killed, they were usually at each other’s throats.

When Paul was arrested, he was put on trial before the joint leadership council, the Sanhedrin.
(Acts 23:6–9 NKJV) —6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. 8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. 9 Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.”

:27 who deny that there is a resurrection

The word “resurrection” is about bringing someone back from the dead.

In our passage, we’re not talking about Jesus’ resurrection, but any resurrection.

The Sadducees simply did not believe in any kind of life after death.
They did not believe that one day everyone will rise from the dead and receive new bodies and live forever.

The Sadducees are going to pitch something to Jesus that they’ve probably used for years to stump those old Pharisees.  “We’ll show those simple Bible thumping fundamentalists how stupid their beliefs are!”

:28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.

without childrenateknos ( “not” + “child”) – without offspring, childless

offspringsperma – seed; from which a plant germinates; the semen virile; the product of this semen, seed, children, offspring, progeny

:28 raise up offspring

raise upexanistemi – to make to rise up, to produce

from anistemi – to cause to rise up; to raise up from the dead
There is a play on words here with “resurrection” and “raise up”. They are choosing their words carefully.
In this Sadducee story, there are no offspring “raised” up, there is no resurrection.

:28 Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies

The Sadducees are focusing on a passage in the book of Deuteronomy.

It is called the “Levirate Law”, or, the law of the “brother-in-law”.

(Deuteronomy 25:5–6 NKJV) —5 “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.
The penalty for refusing to do this was humiliation before the rest of the community.

You see the principle being lived out in the life of one of Jacob’s sons, Judah.

(Genesis 38:6–8 NKJV) —6 Then Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him. 8 And Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.”
When Judah’s second son also Onan died, Judah was a little reluctant to give Tamar to his third son.  He was afraid that he might die like his brothers.
The story reads like a soap opera with Tamar disguising herself as a prostitute, getting pregnant by seducing her father-in-law Judah, and ending up being the heroine of the story for preserving the family line.

The whole goal of these customs and laws was to produce children and preserve the family name.

Side Note: If your older brother is getting married, you probably should make sure he marries a good gal, or you might end up married to her if they don’t have children.

:29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children.

wifegune – a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow; a wife

:29 died without children

The Sadducees are setting up a story under the framework of the Levirate Law.

There was even a similar story in the Jewish book “Tobit” where a woman named Sarah has seven husbands who are all killed one by one on their wedding nights by a demon named Asmodeus (Tobit 3:7-8).

(Tobit 3:7–15 NRSV) —7 On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media, it also happened that Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, was reproached by one of her father’s maids. 8 For she had been married to seven husbands, and the wicked demon Asmodeus had killed each of them before they had been with her as is customary for wives. So the maid said to her, “You are the one who kills your husbands! See, you have already been married to seven husbands and have not borne the name of a single one of them. 9 Why do you beat us? Because your husbands are dead? Go with them! May we never see a son or daughter of yours!” 10 On that day she was grieved in spirit and wept. When she had gone up to her father’s upper room, she intended to hang herself. But she thought it over and said, “Never shall they reproach my father, saying to him, ‘You had only one beloved daughter but she hanged herself because of her distress.’ And I shall bring my father in his old age down in sorrow to Hades. It is better for me not to hang myself, but to pray the Lord that I may die and not listen to these reproaches anymore.” 11 At that same time, with hands outstretched toward the window, she prayed and said, “Blessed are you, merciful God! Blessed is your name forever; let all your works praise you forever. 12 And now, Lord, I turn my face to you, and raise my eyes toward you. 13 Command that I be released from the earth and not listen to such reproaches any more. 14 You know, O Master, that I am innocent of any defilement with a man, 15 and that I have not disgraced my name or the name of my father in the land of my exile. I am my father’s only child; he has no other child to be his heir; and he has no close relative or other kindred for whom I should keep myself as wife. Already seven husbands of mine have died. Why should I still live? But if it is not pleasing to you, O Lord, to take my life, hear me in my disgrace.”

So, with the Sadducee story, the first brother dies without having any children with his wife.

:30 And the second took her as wife, and he died childless.

:31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died.

in like mannerhosautos – in like manner, likewise

leftkataleipo – to leave behind

:32 Last of all the woman died also.

the womangune – a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow; a wife

:32 Last of all the woman died also

I’m guessing she finally ate the soup she’s been serving her husbands.

:33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.”

:33 Therefore, in the resurrection …

You could rephrase it, “Therefore, in heaven …”

:33 whose wife does she become?

This is the “gotcha” part of the argument.

The Sadducee assumption is that if the woman had been married to all seven, then in heaven she must married to all seven men.
And that just sounded ridiculous to them.

I think they’re asking the wrong question.

The question I’d like to ask is, “What did she put in her matzah balls?”
I’d also like to ask, “Why did the sixth and seventh brothers marry her?”  They sound like pretty dumb brothers.

Matthew records Jesus saying something before giving His answer:

(Matthew 22:29 NKJV) Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.


Word and Power

They didn’t know the Scriptures.
Their beliefs were off base because they didn’t take time to study and learn the Scriptures.
As Sadducees, they didn’t even believe in most of the Scriptures.

They only believed the first five books of the Old Testament were inspired by God.

I think that for some of us, we don’t take the Scriptures seriously because we don’t realize just how important they are to true, daily life.

When Jesus was hungry and tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread…

(Matthew 4:4 NKJV) But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

You and I think that “life”, real life, is dependent on having things like food, relationships, or lots of expensive things.  Some would add things like alcohol, drugs, and sex. Our life seems miserable when we don’t have “stuff” to fill it with.

Jesus would remind us that this kind of life is pretty shallow, and that true, deep, meaningful living comes from learning and understanding the very words of God – the Scriptures.

They didn’t know God’s Spirit, the power of God.
People will sometimes base their ideas of what to believe upon what they think God can or cannot do.
The Sadducees might say, “Well I don’t think God can raise the dead because I’ve never seen anyone raised from the dead!”

The truth is, God can do impossible things.

On Thursday night we were reminded of a simple truth that Jesus, the Messiah, sits at the right hand of God. (Ps. 110)

He sits in the place of power.  All power is available to Him for our sakes.

He puts His power in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

Some churches have wonderful teaching ministries, but will deny that the Holy Spirit, the power of God works today in the same way that He did in the early church.
Some churches tend to have a great emphasis on the things of the Spirit, but you’ll hardly ever crack open a Bible during the entire service.
If you have the Scripture without the Spirit, you’ll dry up.
If you have the Spirit without the Scripture, you’ll blow up.
But if you have the Scriptures and the Spirit, you’ll grow up.

:34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.

sonshuios – a son

ageaion – forever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity; the worlds, universe; period of time, age

marrygameo – to lead in marriage, take to wife

given in marriageekgamisko – to give away in marriage: a daughter; to marry, to be given in marriage

:34 The sons of this age marry

Marriage is for people on this side of eternity.

(Luke 20:34 NLT) “Marriage is for people here on earth.

:35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;

counted worthykataxioo – to account worthy, judge worthy

to attaintugchano – to hit the mark, of one discharging a javelin or arrow; to reach, attain, obtain, get, become master of

ageaion – forever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity; the worlds, universe; period of time, age

:36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

dieapothnesko – to die

equal to the angelsisaggelos (“equal” + “angel”) – like the angels

:35 neither marry nor are given in marriage

Those who make it to heaven will find that there is no marriage in heaven.

The Sadducees have made up a story about something that simply doesn’t exist (marriage in heaven).

Keep in mind that the context of this passage is the Levirate Law, the idea of raising up children in the name of a dead brother.

Yet in heaven there will be no more death, so there will be no reason to “procreate” and produce more offspring.
Some have suggested (and it makes sense) that this is the reason there is no marriage in heaven.
Husbands and wives, don’t panic because there’s no marriage.  I don’t think this means you will have to live in opposite sides of heaven.  Unless you want to.

Our Mormon friends have a different take on this.

They teach that the ultimate goal of every Mormon is to reach the state of “exaltation” or “godhood”.
They teach that the way to achieve “exaltation” is through “celestial marriage” where you are married in one of their Temples, and your marriage will last past death into eternity.
I think the concept of “celestial marriage” is an example of someone not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.
Jesus said there was no marriage in heaven.


Mormonism on the other hand teaches something different than the Bible does on this point.
The Mormons teach that the ultimate goal in life is to reach “exaltation” in heaven, to be “gods”, to reach “Godhood”
Former LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie wrote that those who attain exaltation "…inherit in due course the fullness of the glory of the Father, meaning that they have all power in heaven and on earth..." (Mormon Doctrine pg. 257). The LDS Doctrine and Covenants also teaches that "then shall they be gods, because they have no end…then shall they be gods, because they have all power…" (D&C 132:16-26). This is the ultimate goal in Mormonism.
The way to reach this “exaltation” is through “celestial marriage”.
When you are married in a Mormon Temple, you are not just married until “death do us part”, but for eternity.
Former LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie wrote, "Celestial marriage is the gate to exaltation, and exaltation consists in the continuation of the family unit in eternity. Exaltation is…the kind of life which God lives" (Mormon Doctrine pg. 257). Celestial marriage is an absolute necessity to reach this desired goal. Its importance in the place of salvation and exaltation cannot be overestimated. "The most important things that any member of (the LDS Church) ever does in this world are: 1) To marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority; and 2) To keep the covenant made in connection with this holy and perfect order of matrimony…" (Mormon Doctrine pg. 118). 
All Mormon men who desire Godhood are required to marry; if they do not, their leaders have taught that their actions will be displeasing to God. For instance, 10th LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "Any young man who carelessly neglects this great commandment to marry, or who does not marry because of a selfish desire to avoid the responsibilities which married life will bring, is taking a course which is displeasing in the sight of God…There can be no exaltation without it. If a man refuses…he is taking a course which may bar him forever from (exaltation)." (Doctrines of Salvation 2:74).

:36 nor can they die anymore

candunamai – to be able; to be capable

You will not “be able” to die.
This is probably what Jesus means when He says we will be “equal to the angels” – angels do not die.
Some people have the mistaken notion that angels are good people who have gone to heaven.  And then when you do enough good things in heaven you earn your “wings” and a bell rings somewhere on earth.
Video:  It’s a Wonderful Life – Every Time a Bell Rings
That may make good warm fuzzies in the movies, but it’s not Biblical.



When you get to heaven, you will no longer face the possibility of dying.
John describes heaven like this:
(Revelation 21:4 NKJV) And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
In heaven you will finally experience life to it’s fullest.
You will no longer be weighed down by your sin nature – you will no longer be tempted or give in to temptation.
You will have no more pain or sorrow.
The Bible teaches that God has placed a longing for heaven in the heart of each man. Solomon wrote,
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT) Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
We are all born with a longing inside.  It’s a like the cry of the wild wolf in the wilderness.

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The problem is that men tend to go down the wrong kinds of roads looking for that thing that will fulfill that wild cry of the heart for heaven.

Video:  Mercedes GT Roadster Easy Driver Commercial

Looking for adventure?

Look to head out on the highway with Jesus.

I think the best part of heaven will be this:
(Isaiah 25:9 NKJV) And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”

We will finally see Jesus face to face.

We will see the one who loved us so much that He laid down His life for us.

:37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’

raisedegeiro – to arouse, cause to rise; to arouse from sleep, to awake; to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life

burning bushbatos – a thorn or bramble bush

:38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”

the deadnekros – one that has breathed his last, lifeless

the livingzao – to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)

livezao – to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)

:37 Moses showed in the burning bush passage

Jesus is now going to teach the Sadducees about the reality of life after death from a passage in Exodus.

Do you remember what part of the Bible the Sadducees did believe was inspired by God?

They only believed in the first five books of the Bible (Torah). That’s where Exodus is.
They would even say that they didn’t believe in a resurrection because Moses never said anything about it.
Jesus is going to pick out a passage from the part they believed in.

showedmenuo – to disclose or make known something secret

Jesus is going to make his point from something so small, so subtle, yet so true.
The Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death, yet there it was in their own Scriptures.

:37 when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham …

Jesus takes us back to Moses and the Burning Bush.

Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flocks and he came across a strange phenomenon – a bush that was on fire yet it didn’t burn up.

Video:  The Ten Commandments – The Burning Bush

The verse in question is,

(Exodus 3:6 NKJV) Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
The implication is that God is still the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even though they physically died a long time ago.  He is still their God because they are still alive.
God didn’t say, “I WAS the God of thy father, the God of Abraham … etc”.  God said, “I AM …”
God isn’t the God of those who are dead, gone, and passed out of existence.
He is the God of those who live, even if they’ve gone through death on this side of eternity.
Abraham had died 600 years before Moses, yet Abraham was still alive.
To God, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still alive, “for all live to Him”.

:35 those who are counted worthy to attain that age


Worthy of heaven

How does a person become “worthy” to make it to heaven?
Some folks have this idea that you have to be “good enough” in order to be “worthy” of heaven.
There is truth to this statement.
David wrote,

(Psalm 15:1–2 NLT) —1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? 2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

You not only have to be “good”, you have to be perfect.

Jesus said,

(Matthew 5:48 NLT) But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

The problem is, nobody is “good” enough.  We are all sinners.
(Romans 3:23 NLT) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Part of the problem is that we don’t like to admit we are sinners.  We don’t like to admit we have problems.

Like Brett Favre trying to figure out why he threw so many interceptions:

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If you want to be worthy of heaven, it starts with admitting that you have a problem.

You need to admit you are a sinner.

So how can we actually be “good enough” if we are sinners?  Only through the sacrifice of Christ, through His death paying for our sins.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT) For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

God took our sins and placed them on Jesus, while taking Jesus’ righteousness and giving it to us.

If you want to be “worthy” of heaven, you need to open your heart and follow Jesus.
(John 1:12 NKJV) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: