Jesus is the Son of Man
One Bride for Seven Brothers
All right! Please turn in your Bibles with me to Luke Chapter 20. If you do not have a Bible, or you have need a Bible, please see me after the service and we will work on getting one into your hands.
SO, we continue through Luke’s Gospel, and we see in Chapter 20, that Jesus continues to be verbally challenged by the religious leaders of the day. And we don’t often think about it but there were numerous groups of religious leaders in that day. It was not just the Pharisees. Very similar today to the political leaders of our country, there are both Democrats and Republicans, not just a single group.
And Jesus is telling them, you have no right to Heaven. You can’t earn your way to Heaven. The only way to get to Heaven is through grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. He tells them, you are not going to trick me. Obey those over you, all those whom God has placed over you. Because that is all under the umbrella of obey, submit to and trust in God and to give every piece of you, every aspect of your life, nothing hidden, over to God.
So, we are going to go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 20, verses 27 through 40. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along the true, inspired, inerrant Word of God. We will also have it up on the screen in case you forgot your Bible or don’t have one.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke writes:
There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, 28 and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man[f] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second 31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. 32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”
34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons[g] of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” 39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.
Thus says the Word of God.
So, you know when both Democrats and Republicans agree and team up against a cause, or a person, or whatever, you know its either really, really, bad or really, really good. And that’s what we see here with Jesus. Both the Sadducees and the Pharisees, who wouldn’t agree on much and would team up even less, and yet they were united in regard to standing against Jesus of Nazareth.
So, we talk about and mention the Pharisees often, but we don’t talk a lot about the Sadducees. Who are they and how are they different from the Pharisees? Let’s ask GotQuestions.org:
The Sadducees and Pharisees comprised the ruling class of Jews in Israel. There are some similarities between the two groups but important differences between them as well.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were both religious sects within Judaism during the time of Christ. Both groups honored Moses and the Law, and they both had a measure of political power. The Sanhedrin, the 70-member supreme court of ancient Israel, had members from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees.
The differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees are known to us through a couple of passages of Scripture and through the extant writings of the Pharisees. Religiously, the Sadducees were more conservative in one doctrinal area: they insisted on a literal interpretation of the text of Scripture; the Pharisees, on the other hand, gave oral tradition equal authority to the written Word of God. If the Sadducees couldn’t find a command in the Tanakh, they dismissed it as manmade.
Given the Pharisees’ and the Sadducees’ differing view of Scripture, it’s no surprise that they argued over certain doctrines. The Sadducees rejected a belief in the resurrection of the dead (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18–27; Acts 23:8), but the Pharisees did believe in the resurrection. The Sadducees denied the afterlife, holding that the soul perished at death, but the Pharisees believed in an afterlife and in an appropriate reward and punishment for individuals. The Sadducees rejected the idea of an unseen, spiritual world, but the Pharisees taught the existence of angels and demons in a spiritual realm.
Socially, the Sadducees were more elitist and aristocratic than the Pharisees. Sadducees tended to be wealthy and to hold more powerful positions. The chief priests and high priest were Sadducees, and they held the majority of seats in the Sanhedrin. The Pharisees were more representative of the common working people and had the respect of the masses. The Sadducees’ locus of power was the temple in Jerusalem; the Pharisees controlled the synagogues. The Sadducees were friendlier with Rome and more accommodating to the Roman laws than the Pharisees were. The Pharisees often resisted Hellenization, but the Sadducees welcomed it.
Because the Sadducees were often more concerned with politics than religion, they ignored Jesus until they began to fear He might bring unwanted Roman attention and upset the status quo. It was at that point that the Sadducees and Pharisees set aside their differences, united, and conspired to put Christ to death
So, Jesus was finally in the Sadducees cross hairs. The Pharisees and the scribes had their opportunities to work against Jesus and take care of the problem he was causing. And now the Sadducees come and have an idea about how to trip up Jesus.
The Sadducees were open about what they believed and didn’t believe. They believed thy had sound logic and scripture backing them up. They did not believe in life after death. They did not believe in a resurrection. They focused their scriptures on the 5 books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Any thing after those 5 books was a man made add on. In those 5 books, they didn’t see scriptural basis for the afterlife or the resurrection.
And so, they challenged Jesus on this particular doctrine, and they believed that scripture back up their argument. They were using a form of argument referred to as reductio ad absurdum. This is the logical fallacy of appealing to the extreme. Showing how a position is wrong by trying to walk it out to its extreme conclusion. If you believe this, then you must, necessarily believe and condone this extreme absurdity.
And so, the Sadducees laid out this absurd example, trying to show their impeccable logic. Scripture says this point, from Deuteronomy 25:5-10, essentially God told Moses that if a man marries a woman and they don’t have kids and he dies, the next brother should marry her and give her a child so that she may have an inheritance through her son and have someone to take care of her as she gets older. This was how people were taking care of when they got older, by their family and especially their children.
And in this, we see that one-off, not the only, but one of the purposes of marriage was for procreation. To deny that God made marriage for this is to deny the Word of God. Again, its not the only purpose, or even the single main one; that’s to point to the relationship that we are to have with Jesus and God the Father when we get to Heaven. It’s a type that shows the communion and camaraderie and the love that will be shared between us and Him at that time. But procreation was an important part of Gods design for marriage.
Now, that was Gods point in the command in Deuteronomy, that was not the Sadducees point here. Their point is that if this is the law, which it is, and there is an afterlife, which they thought there was not, then what happens in this ridiculous scenario?
Their point was, look at our impeccable logic. Look at us using scripture to back up our point. Their point is one we often mistakenly make. “If only they would read the Bible, they would see it all right here, in black and white…”
We all have those views, those beliefs, those subjects and those doctrines that are crystal clear when we read the Bible, but in reality, and less than black and white, and much more gray.
We might be right. We might be wrong. But its not an issue that determines salvation. To me, scripture is clear that A is true. To you, scripture is clear that B is true. The truth is that both positions are valid Christian beliefs. That doesn’t mean that both positions are right, but that both positions are valid ways for Christians to believe and still be Christians.
How many arguments and how much division does it cause when we concretely and steadfastly say that ours is the only way? The only way to respond. The only way to think. The only way to believe.
Now, of course, there are some things that scripture is crystal clear on. There are some things that are required to believe in order to be a Christian.
Jesus is God. Jesus is Man.
Jesus was born without sin and life a sinless and perfect life. He died for our sins. He was dead, he was buried, he was resurrected, he ascended. He will come again. All things that are required, biblically, historically, to believe, that the Bible is clear on, on order to be a Christian.
Some more things; We must worship on Sunday mornings in Suit and ties and long dresses. Communion must be every week and with wine. We must Vote republican.
Oh wait, no…
Christians can have biblical reasons why they believe and disagree on communion, on baptism, on methods of worship and song styles, on what Bible translation to use, on what the end times are going to look like and when it’s going to take place and in what order.
We all have our views. We believe the Bible backs up our view and we should be able to point to where and why the Bible backs us up. And ours is the only logical, correct way. If someone disagrees with us, they must be disagreeing with the Bible.
That’s what the Sadducees brought to Jesus right here. “What do you say to that, Jesus?”
This is a story that is recount in the other gospels as well. Jesus initial response to the Sadducees in Matthew 22:29, Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
Then he answers the Sadducees, and he tells them, you really have no idea what the after life will look like, nor can you know what it will look like. The way that things work in this world are not the way things will work in the next world and thank goodness for that! Jesus tells them that they cannot use earthly logic, no matter how valid, to understand what Heaven will be like.
RC Sproul reminds us beautifully: Whatever is or isn’t in heaven, one thing we know now: in heaven there will be no sin. Everything that profanes human relationships will be gone. No sin. No deceit. No death. No sickness. No sorrow. How that occurs in the resurrection, we don’t know. We must trust God at his Word that whatever we experience in heaven will be wonderful and will be nothing but gain.
There are three things that Jesus lets them know as he is responding to the Sadducees. First, there is a heaven and an afterlife. And those who are the Sons of God are who will be in it. Those who are considered worthy is how my translation outs it. The original language makes it clear that it is to be “counted worthy” or “made worthy.” It is not something we do, but rather something God does for and too us, by his grace and through our faith in his Son Jesus Christ.
Second, the afterlife, heaven, wont look like whatever it is that we expect it to look like. We get some hints and glimpses in scriptures, but as Paul says elsewhere, now we are looking through a glass darkly, but then we will see clearly.
Third, there will be a resurrection of the dead. Judgment will take place and we will be placed in our eternal destination based on whether we are made worthy by God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son.
And then, in specific answer to their question, almost as an afterthought, he says that in heaven, we will be like angels. Not that we will be angels. We won’t be sprouting wings and playing harps, which is not what angels actually do either, but we do not turn into angels. Instead, in the context of the Sadducees question, there will be no marriage in heaven. Again, the purpose of marriage is to point to heaven and God, and when we are there, we won’t need to point to where we already are or what we already have.
And Jesus tells shows them from scripture where the resurrection is shown. He says, you don’t see it in scriptures, lets open our Bibles, lets turn to the passage about the bush. That’s how they referred to passages of scripture then, they didn’t have chapters and verses, but every person listening would have known exactly what Jesus was referring to.
That’s the passage I had Mike read this morning. Moses is talking to God, or rather God is talking to Moses and God tells him, I AM the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, The God of Jacob. He is saying, among other things, I am the God of these men who are dead. They died, and I am still the God of them, because they are living with me now. Those who have died are still living.
Jesus didn’t say, because I said so, which he could have. He had that knowledge and that authority. He didn’t quote psalms or proverbs or the prophets, which he could have, those books were and are scripture and they have the authority. Instead, he referenced and quoted Deuteronomy, which the Sadducees recognized as scripture, and showed from within there the truth.
Now, as is usual for human beings, when faced with the truth that goes against what we think, we don’t accept the truth, we don’t acknowledge it. We either keep arguing against it, or we go away and fight another day.
That’s what the Sadducees did here. They say, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” They say it, not because he convinced them, but because they knew they were not going to be able to win any points or arguments or trick him or anything. They were conceding the confrontation, but not being convinced of the truth of it.
So, of course, we see in this passage, affirmation that there is a resurrection, that there is an afterlife. We see Jesus clearly state who will be there and remind us that Gods ways and wisdom are greater than our wisdom and logic.
Speaking of our logic. The other thing we see in this, what I really saw this week is that we are not to trust our own opinions. Lean not on our own understandings. Instead, trust the Bible. Trust Gods Word.
Be careful how you interact with and disagree with those around you, especially fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. You may have biblical reasons for your views. But recognize that other people can have biblical reasons for what they believe, and it can be different from what you believe.
Again, that doesn’t mean that both are right. There is only one right answer to many of these issues. And in this specific context, we are not talking about arguments without or outside of Christianity. We are not talking about arguments about what things historically, biblically make one a Christian. We are talking about inter family disagreements.
IF Gods Word is trusted. If Gods word is the foundation. If God is glorified. IF we hold these things in their place, not unimportant, but clearly secondary, if we treat each other as family, as brothers and sisters, then we can disagree. We can put aside differences and we can unite underneath the thing that brings us together. Stand side by side, hand in hand, with different beliefs and conclusions and we can raise our hands are sing Holy Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty. We can sing together In Christ alone. We can sing together On Christ the Solid Rock I stand. WE can and should and are commanded to worship together, to love one another and to praise God in and for all of it.