Sunday, February 13, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Jesus and the Sadducees"

“Jesus and the Sadducees”
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
February 13, 2011
Luke 20:27-40

We are studying together the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

King Jesus has ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey–clearly claiming to the be the foretold Messiah of Israel.

He has wept over Jerusalem’s rejection of Himself and the misery it will cause.

Jesus has cleansed the temple–tossing out the merchandisers and moneychangers.

And He has begun teaching every single day at the cleansed temple about the good news of the kingdom of God.

And His enemies are furious. 

Jesus is popular, and they are not. He threatens them just by being Himself.

And they have tried to confront Him and confound Him and catch Him with a trick question to get rid of Him.

Lots of different groups of leaders have tried their best to defeat Him.

They asked Him by what authority He did all of this.

So, He asked them a question that put them between a rock and hard place.

And they chickened out.

The answer, of course, was by God’s own authority. He is God’s son.

And then they tried to put Him between the rock of fickle popularity and the hard place of Roman rule by asking if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar.

But Jesus wasn’t afraid and deftly answered their trick questions.

He called them (what we saw last week), to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s (which is taxes and submission) and to God what is God’s (which is our very selves).

So, no group has yet been successful at landing a blow at Jesus.

And one more group, one that hasn’t yet spoken on their own in the Gospel, steps up to try.

This group is the Sadducees.

The Sadducees were a group within the ruling class of Israel that had a distinct set of beliefs.

They only believed in the first 5 books of the Old Testament. What we call the Pentateuch or the Torah.  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

They didn’t accept the rest of the Old Testament as inspired and authoritative for today.

And they also didn’t believe in the doctrine of the resurrection.


“Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question.”

The Sadducees did not believe that there was going to be a resurrection from the dead.

And so, they were “Sad You See!”  Get it?

Actually, they were not very sad in general.  They were rich and successful and powerful.  So they were earthly happy.

And they scoffed at the idea of the resurrection.

In fact, they thought that anyone who believed in the resurrection was ridiculous.

They said that the resurrection wasn’t taught in the Torah and therefore it didn’t exist.

And they went further than that. They were basically anti-supernaturalists.

They didn’t believe much in the supernatural at all.

They didn’t expect God to intervene in the world He had made.  We are basically on our own.  And when we die...we die.  That’s it.

Those were the Sadducees.  And it’s their turn to take a swipe at Jesus.

They come up to Jesus to play stump the chump.

They want Jesus to be laughed at and mocked and discredited.

So, they bring their best game.  Their best stumper of a question.

This is a question that has always worked for them so far.  They’ve used it to stump Pharisees before.  It’s a killer question.

And they think that it will stump Jesus.

Have you ever had anyone scoff at what you believe?

Have you ever had someone treat your beliefs as ridiculous?

It can really make you feel bad.

It can make you feel like there is something wrong with you.

That maybe you’re missing out on what everyone else knows.

Maybe it’s your view of creation.
Or maybe it’s your view of the relationship between men and women in the church and the home.

Or maybe it’s even more basic.  That you believe the Bible.

And someone has scoffed at you as ridiculous for believing that stuff.

Do you really believe everything in that book?

Don’t you know that it was written a long time ago?

Don’t you know that science has disproved all of that?

Do you really believe all of that sin stuff and miracles stuff?

Or maybe even more basic.  You believe there is a God who made everything?

Well, then who made God?

As if that question really is a stumper.

Have you ever been tempted to disbelieve what you believe because of a scoffer?

How about the resurrection?

Do you believe there is a resurrection to come?

Do you believe that one day those who have died will come back to life?

Do you believe that?

The Sadducees did not.

And they thought they had a stumper of question to PROVE it.

To make it seem as ridiculous as it clearly was to them.  V.27...

“Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘Moses wrote for us (Deuteronomy 25) that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother (that’s called Levirate marriage and it was part of the Torah, the law. The point was to preserve the family name). [Hypothetical now. V.29] Now there were seven brothers (1,2,3,4,5,6,7). The first one married a woman and died childless. [Levirate marriage time.] The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the (3,4,5,6) seven died, leaving no children. (No heirs.  No one married to her with a greater claim on her because they gave her a son. V.32)  Finally, the woman died too.  Now then (O Great Teacher), at the (supposed) resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?’”

She’s been a good girl.  She’s been monogamous.  At least one at a time. But who is going to get her now?

Answer?  Resurrection is ridiculous!

There is no resurrection.

You die and turn to dust, and that’s it.

The end.

Resurrection is ridiculous.

Now, how would you answer them?

Would you answer them?

Would you be tempted to just give up on the resurrection?

Yeah, maybe it’s not true after all.

Or maybe you would say, what, well the resurrection is taught in the rest of the Old Testament. It’s really clear in Daniel 12, verse 2. “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Or maybe you’d just say, “I don’t care what you think” and walk away.

Or you’d be silenced and not know what to say.

I think that all of those would be options I might be left with.

How do you answer people and think about things when what you believe is under attack as ridiculous?

Our Lord Jesus was not intimidated by the Sadducees.

The Gospel of Mark quotes Jesus as saying right here, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?”

He saying, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

And that’s how He answers the Sadducees.  V.34

“Jesus replied, ‘The people of this age marry and are given in marriage.  But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection.  But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'  He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.’  Some of the teachers of the law responded, ‘Well said, teacher!’  And no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

Jesus is not intimidated.

He says, “You’ve got it all wrong. You, Sadducees, have all of the wrong presuppositions.”

There is a Resurrection!

But things are going to be very different when the resurrection comes.

Everything is going to change.

The fatal mistake that the Sadducees were making was to assume that things were always going to be like they are right now.

That the age to come, if it came, was going to be fundamentally like the present age.

But they had it all wrong.

The resurrection is going to come, but it’s going to change nearly everything.

Life will be very different in the resurrection!

#1. NO MORE MARRIAGE.  Look at verses 34&35.

“Jesus replied, ‘The people of this age marry and are given in marriage.  But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage...”

News flash.

There will be no more marriage in the new heavens and the new earth.

Everything that marriage was supposed a foretaste of will be fulfilled by then.

And while there will be no marriage, it will be better than marriage.

So, don’t worry folks who have not yet been married.  You will not miss out on a partner for eternity.  There are no partners for eternity.

And don’t worry if you’re in a bad marriage.  This life is short and you won’t be married in the world to come.

And don’t worry if you have a fantastic marriage.  The resurrection will be so much better!

And don’t scoff at that like the Sadducees.

They couldn’t imagine a world without marriage–and certainly couldn’t imagine it being better.

But that was their problem.  No more marriage.

Life will be very different in the resurrection.

Here’s why #2.  NO MORE DEATH.

You might have mixed feelings about no more weddings.

But how do you feel about hearing this–no more funerals.


Verse 36.  “...and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels.”

They can no longer die.

No more death.

Can you imagine?

No more funerals.
No more grieving.
No more crying over lost loved ones and the pain of separation.

No more death.

No more stinkin’ enemy of death to deal with every day of our lives.

Unless the Lord returns soon, everyone here is going to die.

And everyone that you love will soon die, as well.

In the next 100 years, everyone here will die.

And that’s all that the Sadducees could see.

But that’s not all that will be.

No more death.  The resurrection will change everything.

No more death. 


I think that’s what Jesus means in verse 36 when He says, “They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”

He might be saying again that they cannot die because they are like angels.

But I think He’s saying more than that.

I think He’s saying that they are God’s children–and they bear the family resemblance. 

They are holy as God is holy.

They are God’s children, children born of the resurrection.

No more sin.

In 2 Peter 3, Peter says, “[I]n keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. [I love that name for the age to come–the home of righteousness.  He goes on to say...]  So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”

No more sin.

Can you imagine?

Pastor Kent Hughes said of this passage, “[In the resurrection...]we will have no unrighteous desires, no covetous cravings, no proud thoughts, no depressions of spirit, no pulls of self-will, no inclinations to sin. Our habitual sins that afflict us so much will finally be gone. Like the angels, we will perpetually worship God." [R. Kent Hughes on Luke 20:27-40]

I don’t know about you, but that thrills me.

The Sadducees could not imagine a world without sin.

Without everything going on as it always had been.

But you can, can’t you?  You can imagine the world as it’s going to be.


Like Jesus.

Now, I love this last one. In verses 37 and 38, Jesus is going to turn the tables on the Sadducees.

He’s going to use their beloved Torah to prove the resurrection.

They said that they only believed the first five books of the Bible.

So, Jesus says, “Okay.  I’ll use those.  How about Exodus chapter 3?  Can’t get any more Torah than that, can you?!”  V.37

“But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'   He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.’”

Okay Sad Guys, read your Bibles!  It does not say, “I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  It says, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

They still exist.
They are still alive to me.

And so are my promises to them.


No more waiting for the promises to come.

In that day, Abraham will be back in the body.
Isaac will be alive again in the body.
Jacob will be alive again in the body.

And they will not have to wait any longer for all of the promises that God made to them to be fulfilled.

No more waiting.

Just life forever with the God of the Living!

Just life forever with the living God!

And I love verse 39.

Even His enemies have to applaud that one.

“Some of the teachers of the law responded, ‘Well said, teacher!’”

He showed them!

He stopped the Sadducees in their tracks.  V.40

“And no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

Game over.

Oh, they’ll be back.  But until they have the upper hand including Roman swords, they won’t try to ask him any more attacking questions.

Jesus has won.

Now, let me give you four quick applications from what we’ve seen so far.

Four things that we can do this week because of what we’ve learned.

#1. Don’t Scoff.

Don’t be like the Sadducees.

Don’t scoff at the idea of miracle, of God at work in the world, of resurrection.

God is a God of miracles.  God is a God of life.

The Bible is God’s Word.

Jesus came back from the dead.  Really!

And one day, we will, too.

No more marriage, no more death, no more sin, no more waiting.

Don’t scoff. That’s on the way.

#2.  Don’t worry.

Don’t worry about what other people think of what you believe if you know it to be true.

Stand your ground.  Get better answers, more complete answers if someone’s questions shake you.

There are good answers out there.  Don’t let someone shake your faith with a stump the chump question.

Don’t worry.  This is all real.

There is a resurrection coming and it will change everything.

#3.  Hope in Jesus.

That’s how we get to the resurrection.

Maybe that little phrase in verse 35 scared you a little.  Maybe it should.

“Those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead...”

Who is that?

Who is considered worthy?

No one but Jesus is worthy.

But Jesus shares His worth with those who hope in Him.

And we are “considered worthy” if we do.

Jesus’ righteousness is reckoned to our account when we trust Him as our Savior and Lord.

He makes us worthy in Him to enjoy the wonders of the resurrection.

Hope in Jesus.

If you have not yet put your hope and trust in Jesus, I invite you to do that right now.

Don’t be a like Sadducee standing out in the cold when there is a warm home to go to through Christ–the home of righteousness.

No more marriage, no more death, no more sin, no more waiting.

Just life forever with Jesus.

Hope in Him.

And #4. Get Ready for Home.

Anticipate the resurrection to come.

Fill up your mind and heart with these great promises.

No more marriage, no more death, no more sin, no more waiting.

Just life forever with the God of the living, the living God.

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple 
The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar