Morning Bible Study
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
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,
:27 some of the Sadducees
Last week we looked at the makeup of the people who were trying to trip
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
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.
: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
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
: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.
:28 raise up offspring
raise up – exanistemi – 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
: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”.
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
You see the principle being lived out in the life of one of Jacob’s sons,
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
:29 died without children
The Sadducees are setting up a story under the framework of the Levirate
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).
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.
:32 Last of all the woman died also.
: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
Matthew records Jesus saying something before giving His answer:
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
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
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.
: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;
:36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons
of God, being sons of the resurrection.
: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.
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.
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
can – dunamai – 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
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:
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,
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.
Video: Puppies Learning to Howl
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
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.’
:38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to
: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.
showed – menuo – to
disclose or make known something secret
Jesus is going to make his point from something so small, so subtle, yet so
The Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death, yet there it was in their
: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.
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
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
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.
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.
5:48 NLT) But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is
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
Like Brett Favre trying to figure out why he threw so many
Video: Brett Favre Buffalo Wild
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
(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: