What About the Resurrection?

What About the Resurrection?   (Matthew 22:23-33) *All Verses in NKJV*

– We are in the book of Matthew, Jesus is teaching in the temple, and the Pharisees and Sadducees are trying to trip him up with seemingly tough questions, so he will contradict himself.  

Matthew 22:15, Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.

– Their motive is not to gain knowledge from Jesus or seek understanding of his message. They want to publicly discredit him. The want to get him “cancelled”. (Original cancel culture, nothing is new).

– They want to convince the people to act against their own best interests by getting them to turn on Jesus too. By the end of the week, they are successful, and Jesus is crucified.

Matthew 22:23-33, The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24 saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. 27 Last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are [f]mistaken (deceived), not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels [g]of God in heaven. 31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

* I’m going to breakdown what it says, then tell you what is means for our lives.

The Sadducees were a priestly class, descendants of a high priest during the reign of King David and King Solomon. They were powerful aristocrats and mediators between Rome and Israel. (Elites)

– They believed the primary authority came from The Pentateuch (writings of Moses, first 5 books of the bible). They ignored the divine inspiration of the Prophets or any revelations from heaven, and they rejected the oral traditions of the Pharisees. Only what God spoke on Mt Sinai mattered. 

– They were the religious opposites of the Pharisees, except in that they both wanted to destroy Jesus. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

– Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection of the dead. When the body dies, the soul dies with it. No afterlife, no heaven or hell, no future rewards or final judgement, and no eventual Holy Spirit.

– Their ignorant idea of a resurrection would be that actual “earth suits” of dead people would crawl out of the grave again, like zombies. Bodies decay eventually, so how can they be alive again?

– Their hypothetical question hinges of something Moses commanded in Deuteronomy… basically, if a man marries then dies before having children, the brother should step in, so the man’s lineage won’t die off, and his family can continue. 

– If flesh bodies were resurrected, the wife would end up having 7 husbands. An abomination! 

– This question is meant to be a trap. Either Jesus says the commands of Moses are wrong (which would completely offend the Jewish people), or he has to back track on saying there is a resurrection (which would make him a liar). Either choice would completely discredit him, and his message.

* This is the “sucker’s choice”. Choose option 3!

Jesus answered them saying, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 

– Their question is wrong, and they are building on a false foundation, so Jesus corrected them.

First: The Sadducees are misusing scripture out of context.

– Moses’ words in Deut. 25:5-6 are taken out of context, using a bias towards a false idea of the afterlife. This scripture has nothing at all to do with the resurrection. 

– Throughout the bible there is scripture about the afterlife, immortal souls, and the like. It is written in the law and the prophets. It is also implied in the writings of Moses, but they chose not to use those verses, only twisting this one to support their position.

Second: They have an incorrect assertion that people would be married in heaven. Jesus says No.

Matthew 22:30, For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 

– “Like angels” in the sense we will be citizens of Heaven, surrounding the throne of God and worshipping Him. Pure, redeemed, free from the grasp of sin.

– There is no need for marriage in Heaven. No decay or death, no offspring to raise, no “brother’s lineage to carry on”, no sickness or health, no rich or poor, no prosperity or adversity… only resurrected souls in new and perfect bodies, worshipping the Father.

Third: They are ignorant of the power of God to raise the dead

1 Cor 15:35, But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” (Guess who asked this question… Sadducees!)

– Our corrupt flesh is buried, and we are raised up in spiritual bodies. Paul says, “Absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

– Also, several people we raised from the dead in their flesh by Jesus, including himself, after his own resurrection when he appeared to his disciples before ascending into Heaven. 

This is the scriptural application for YOUR life:

– The spirit of the Pharisees and Sadducees still exists in that there are many who are deceived and will twist scripture and push false doctrine to discredit the message of Jesus Christ.

– You will also be questioned by those with bad motives trying to get you “cancelled” too.

– You must do these 3 things that Jesus did in order to avoid the verbal traps:

1. Study your Bible. 

– Jesus knew the scriptures well, so he was able to easily refute the Sadducees.

– They only respected Moses’ words, so Jesus used Moses’ words to correct their bad theology.

– In Exodus, God says to Moses as I AM the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. Stated in the present tense, as in, “I am still their God”. (Not, “I was…”)

Hebrews 11:13 & 16, These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them… 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.  (Present tense!)

– You must know what your bible says, or you will be led astray! It is the ultimate truth source!

Example: I heard a statement that teenagers had reported they learn most of their knowledge about History from TikTok. (This said as an inditement of public schools.)

– Why would you think what you hear on social media is true? How would you know for sure??

– Same with the truth about God. Hold anything you hear up to the word of God.

2 Tim 4:2-4, Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

– How can you be ready to preach the word, if you don’t know your word? 

– How will you know if you are entertaining false doctrine, if you don’t know true doctrine? (Podcasts and Internet preachers…)

– The truth has major implications, and everybody knows that. If they can discredit you (thus the bible), then they can pretend that they are not accountable to what the bible says.

2. Pick your battles. 

– Motives matter. Just like the Sadducees tried to do to Jesus, some people will question you with the goal of making you look foolish. (YouTube is full of these “gotcha” videos, to get people cancelled.) 

– You don’t have to engage and “play their game”. Don’t take the bait!

Matthew 7:6, Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

– Jesus picked his Battles in Matthew Chapter 16, and wouldn’t play their game…

Matthew 16:1 & 4, Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven… A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.

– In our verses today, Jesus engaged with the Sadducees, and answered their question. Why? I think it was for the benefit of the multitudes who where in the temple listening to the conversation.

– The right understanding of the resurrection was worth engaging on, for the benefit of the hearer.

2 Tim 2:14-15,  Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to [d]strive (battle) about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 

– Only engage when it matters for the cause of Christ, not to satisfy your own pride or vanity.

– Sometimes people honestly want answers. That is the perfect time to engage!

1 Peter 3:15, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

3. Know the gospel. 

– The resurrection of the dead is monumentally important to the Gospel and our salvation!

1 Cor 15:12-19, Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

– You must be able to explain the Gospel to someone. It is the most important message there is!

– More than John 3:16!! Sin, Savior, death, burial, resurrection, grace, forgiveness, repentance…

– You don’t need to be articulate, or quick witted, or smart, or outgoing, or good at arguing…

1 Cor 2:1-5, (the Apostle Paul said), And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

– As blood-bought, born-again believers in Jesus Christ, our resurrection awaits us, and eternal life in Heaven is our reward. That is what the word of God says.

– If you are not a believer, I invite you to become one today…

– alter call – – prayer –

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