“On Your Mark”
The God of the Living (Chapter 12 Verses 18-27)
The Sadducees confront Jesus this time, whose fundamental difference with the Pharisees was that they did not believe in resurrection (v18). They quote Moses’ teaching with regards to marriage (Deuteronomy 25.5), and of course the instruction was to protect and preserve the family lineage (v19). Now they come to their point (v20-22). It is a hypothetical situation in order to make their case (v23). Now Jesus who obviously believes in resurrection and teaches it (Mark 10.34b), is expected to untangle this web. Since resurrection involves bodies, so if all these bodies are raised what is the relational outcome of such teaching? Which one of the seven gets the wife? Now they think they have produced a logical and infallible argument which proves beyond all shadow of doubt that there is no such thing as resurrection. The studying of the Scriptures, by this same supposed infallible logic, is by no means dead. There was extensive Scriptural proof of resurrection in the Old Testament (Genesis 22.5; Jonah 1.17; 2.10; Isaiah 53.11; Hosea 6.2; Psalm 16.8-11).
And that is the very point Jesus makes (v24), they needed a clear understanding of the Scriptures, and the God of the Scriptures. Their pitiful view of God, and the world to come, in which God will not only raise the dead, but raise them, but in the way he chooses. The complete arrangements of sex, marriage, reproduction, and childbirth will not be valid in the heavenly condition (v25; Luke 20.35-36), those stand only in this earthly economy. Hard as it may seem to you, for the present author to be like an angel one day, that is exactly how I shall be (v25), Jesus says so. It is again to the Scriptures that Jesus turns in order to finally quash their argument (v26-27). He very unexpectedly turns to Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3.6). The dead shall be raised and glorified in the last day, because God is the God, not of dead people, but living people. If there is no resurrection then people like Abraham, Isaac etc., are all dead in their graves and will be so forever, which would mean God is the God of dead people, impossible! It would mean that death is unconquerable, stronger than God. Impossible! It would mean that God’s redemptive plan was a dead squib, never went off. Impossible! Do you want the god of the Sadducees? We have a risen, death-conquering, resurrecting, almighty Saviour-God. I know it is a long one, but read Paul’s chapter on it (1Corinthians.15). It really is worth the effort.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)