Mark 12:18-27

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 8, 2005



A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test the following question appeared: “My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I pick up things. What am I?” When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was astonished to find that almost 50 percent of the students answered the question with the word Mother. Happy Magnets Day...


Three sons left home, went out on their own and prospered. They discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother. The first said: “I built a big house for our mother.” The second said: “I sent her a Mercedes with a driver.” The third said: “You remember how our mother enjoys reading the Bible. Now she can’t see very well. So I sent her a remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took elders in the church 12 years to teach him. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot recites it.” Soon thereafter, their mother sent out her letters of thanks. “William,” she said, “the house you built is so huge. I live only in one room, but I have to clean the whole house.” “Arnold,” she said, “I am too old to travel. I stay most of the time at home so I rarely use the Mercedes. And that driver is so rude! He’s a pain!” “But David,” she said, “the chicken was delicious!”

:18 Then come unto him the Sadducees …

Sadducees – who are these guys?

Religiously, these were the opposite guys from the Pharisees. They didn’t believe in the miraculous, in angels, the coming judgment, or the resurrection. “That’s why they were sad-you-see”. These were the religious liberals. They were small in numbers.  The priests, including the high priest tended to be Sadducees.

They believed that the first five books of the Bible, the “Torah”, were inspired by God, but they did not believe that the rest of the Old Testament was inspired.

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

:19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die…

The Sadducees are referring to Deut. 25:5-10, passage known as the “Levirate” law, the duty of a man to raise up a name for a deceased brother who had no offspring. The Latin word levir means “brother-in-law”.

The purpose of the law had to do with inheritance and the family farm.  It was very important that a family name be carried on and that the family farm should stay within the family.

So if a husband died, his oldest, unmarried brother was to step up and marry the widow. 

:22 … last of all the woman died also.

Interesting situation. It raises some big questions like …

What was she feeding these guys?

But that’s not what the Sadducees are going to ask.

:23 …whose wife shall she be of them?

Looks like a messy situation in heaven.

:25 … they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

First, Jesus will deal with their lack of knowledge of the power of God.

as the angels – they don’t become angels, but they are like the angels.  When humans go to heaven, they are still humans, but in relation to marriage, they are “like” or “as” the angels.

Angels are a different type of creature than man is.  They are specifically created beings.  They have been around since the beginning of the world.  They do not die.  They do not produce offspring like humans.

The power of God is displayed in that God will change us.  He will make our lives radically different, to be like the angels in heaven.

It’s interesting that Jesus mentions the angels because the Sadducees don’t believe in angels either.

There are other belief systems that have ideas about heaven that differ from the Bible in this matter.

Muslims believe that if they’re good, they’ll be rewarded with voluptuous women in heaven.

Mormons believe that if they have their marriage “sealed” in a Mormon Temple, they will progress to godhood in heaven.  In heaven, a husband and wife will procreate and have “spirit babies”.

The amazing thing is that this idea of being married in heaven clearly contradicts what Jesus said. Jesus said there was no marriage in heaven.

Don’t miss the point here.  God thinks marriage is wonderful. 

This doesn’t mean that your marriage here on earth is any less important just because it won’t exist in heaven.  God invented marriage.  Jesus honored marriage by performing His first miracle at a wedding.  He thinks marriage is wonderful.  But we won’t be married to each other in heaven.

I enjoy being married to my wife.  And in heaven, just because we won’t be married any more doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to hang out with each other.

And yet there will be one particular marriage in heaven.  Jesus is married to His Bride, the church (which means us).

:26 …have ye not read in the book of Moses…

Now Jesus deals with their lack of knowledge of the scriptures.

There are lots of Old Testament Scriptures that speak of a resurrection from the dead. Job (Job 19:25-26), David (Ps. 16:10), Daniel (Dan. 12:2) and others (Is. 26:19; Hos. 13:14; Heb. 11:17-19) speak of a resurrection.

But the Sadducees didn’t accept any of these Scriptures as authoritative.  They only believed the first five books of Moses were inspired by God.  And that’s what Jesus will quote from.  He will prove His point from the Scriptures that they accept.  He will quotes from Exodus 3:6 where God spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living

God didn’t say, “I WAS the God of thy father, the God of Abraham … etc”. God said, “, I AM the God of thy father, the God of Abraham”

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.  They didn’t cease to exist when they died.  They were still alive.

:24 … because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God

knoweido – to know, understand, perceive; It’s not “know” as in having experienced something, but “know” as in understanding something.  They’ve read the Scriptures but they have not understood them.  They’ve experienced God’s power but didn’t understand it.


Know the Scriptures

Hell:  A few years ago I saw an TV show where Larry King had Deepak Chopra on with a Rabbi, John MacArthur, and Bruce Wilkinson. Both Mr. Chopra and the Rabbi talked about how they did not believe in hell because they could not believe that God would make such a place nor send people there. John’s response was that it really didn’t make any difference what they believed. What counted was what God has told us.
The End:  The other day I saw a bit of a news report where they were talking the supposed coming of the end of the world.  They were talking about how some people are trying to actually delay the coming of the end of the world because in their view everything will be destroyed and how that would be horrible.
But they don’t know the Scriptures.
There will be an “end of the world”.  But it will also be the time of the return of Jesus.  Why in the world would anybody want to delay the coming of Jesus?
Heaven:  Another very common misunderstanding people have is about the requirements to get into heaven.
Most people in America have this notion that if you want to go to heaven, you must be a good person.

And though there are some Scriptures that may give you this impression, as you study the whole of the Bible, you find out that though the requirements for heaven are indeed “goodness”, the problem is that we don’t have enough of that “goodness” to qualify.  The Bible teaches

(Rom 3:23 NKJV)  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

(Isa 64:6 NLT)  We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags.

But the Bible also tells us that God has taken care of our sin problem when He sent Jesus:

(2 Cor 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.

And now in order to become right with God and be accepted into heaven we simply need to receive God’s forgiveness and trust that Jesus has paid for our sins.

(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:

(John 3:16 NKJV)  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It’s important that we know and understand the Scriptures.


Know God’s power

powerdunamis – strength, power, ability. This is the word Jesus used when He said,
(Acts 1:8 NKJV)  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
I wonder how much we miss out on because we don’t understand the power of God.
Hundreds of years ago, the king of Siam was visited by the Dutch ambassador. The ambassador told the king about his country and how in cold weather the water became so hard that men walked on it and it would bear an elephant. The king replied, “Hitherto I have believed the strange things you told me, because I looked upon you as a sober fair man; but now I am sure you lie.”
The king of Siam had a hard time believing there were such a thing as ice because he had never experienced it. But is there such a thing as ice? Yes.
Be careful about limiting what you think God can do based upon your limited understanding.
(Jer 32:27 KJV) Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Paul prayed for the Ephesians …
(Eph 1:18-20 NKJV)  the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, {19} and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power {20} which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
I believe one of the great methods God uses to release His power in our lives is through prayer.
James said,
(James 4:2 NKJV)  …Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
Answers to prayer over this last year …
Our own housing situation.  We needed to move in order to keep our boys in the same school.  The ladies began praying on a Saturday night and within a week we had bought a house and our old house had sold.  By the end of the month the escrows of five families all linked together closed without a hitch.
The church.  We faced a crisis last November when our landlord told us that we weren’t going to have three months to find a new place but we only had six weeks.  And yet after the church began praying, within two weeks we had our current situation with St. Stephen’s lined up.  Not only would we be saving money, but we have been an answer to prayer for St. Stephen’s in helping them with their finances as well.  Two months later, the same kind of thing happened with God providing an office for us.
George Schade.  A horrible accident on his quad out in the middle of nowhere.  Six broken ribs, two broken collar bones, a punctured lung, and the possibility of a torn aorta. As people began to pray, not only were hospital rooms miraculously made available, but George’s heart was okay.  George is convinced the Lord healed him.
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve also seen several lost kids be found, another heart surgery that didn’t have to be done, and hardened hearts changed.
Don’t underestimate the power of God to work in your life and your situation.
God is for you.  He’s not against you.
He may not answer your prayer the way you want, but He WILL answer it for the best.


Balancing the Scriptures and Power

Sometimes we can see how churches can be categorized by their relationship to the Scriptures and the Power of God.
Some churches are like the Sadducees. They don’t teach the Word and they don’t believe in the work of the Holy Spirit.
Some churches have wonderful teaching ministries, but will deny that the Holy Spirit 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.
Sadly, the Sadducees had NEITHER.
We want to have BOTH.

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.