Faithlife Sermons

Absolute Authority

Walking with Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  32:14
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PO - The one word that makes a difference between Christianity and all religions is the word resurrection.
The resurrection of Christ in the past gives the believer bright hope of the future.
HUM - A Sunday school class of kindergarteners were studying the Creation story. After several weeks, they were ready to review.
“What did God make the first day?” the teacher quizzed. “The second day?” They answered both questions correctly.
“And what happened on the third day?” The teacher asked.
One little child, face shining with enthusiasm, exclaimed, “He rose from the dead!”
The child might have missed the creation story, but he sure got the important Cliff Notes.
Jesus’ resurrected body lives today.
INTRO - Resurrection is our topic today and in our passage we will hear Jesus addresses the matter of resurrection.
Some didn’t believe in life after death.
Jesus quotes from God’s own word teaching them while assuring us that the resurrection is absolute.
TRANS - Let’s travel back to a time when the Master spoke first hand to those who came to understand and believe.
And, with that same Spirit, let’s pray for God’s help so that we, too, might come to understand and believe.

What does it say?

Mark 12:18–27 ESV
And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.” Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

What does it mean?

Misunderstood Authority

Who were the Sadducees?
We don’t have anything from the Sadducees themselves.
All we know comes from the NT, Josephus, and some rabbinic texts.
Even with all that, its hard to get a balanced view.
Their name comes from saddiq which means “righteous” and from the name Zadok (possible the high priest)
Most see them as religious and conservative.
Some, as Jewish aristocracy.
Others as a political party.
And, to one extent or another, a combination of those things.
What “resurrection” did the Sadducees deny?
The old bit of Bible humor says, “The Sadducees didn’t believe in resurrection, so they were sad-u-see.”
ILL - For centuries Portugal’s motto was “Nothing More Beyond.” Their world was limited to the familiar dimensions of the area around the Mediterranean Sea. They believed that to sail beyond the horizon, their border, would be to drop off the edge of the world. Eventually, voyagers discovered worlds beyond and brought back evidence to substantiate their claims. Decision makers were compelled to alter their motto to read, “More Beyond.”
The resurrection we celebrate at Easter assures us there is more beyond the grave. We do not have a chart to guide us, save Jesus Christ; details are sketchy, but our destination is certain.
The Sadducees, however, say their is no resurrection:
Acts 23:8 ESV
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
To be a Sadducee, placed you at odds with many people.
It is difficult to understand how this group was the priestly party from whom the people selected the high priest.
They might not agree with the Pharisees, but considering Jesus, “only yesterday” cleansed their temple (the temple was their domain) now the had a common enemy.
As the ancient proverb says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” turns true among these Jesus haters.
What OT principle were the Sadducees referring to in Mark 12:19?
Consider the Sadducees didn’t believe in the afterlife.
So, just questioning Jesus about is obviously intended as ridicule.
ILL - Perhaps you’ve asked a question knowing the answer?
Or, perhaps you’ve been asked a question you couldn’t answer, or were immediately corrected for providing?
What ever the case, done here, this is ridicule.
The Sadducees didn’t want an answer from Jesus.
Their intent was to deliver a double blow; prove Jesus wrong among his followers and themselves superior above the Pharisees who failed to trap Jesus with words.
To accomplish that, they drew from the OT principle of the levirate marriage from the Pentateuch:
Deuteronomy 25:5–6 ESV
“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.
To what extent the law was still observed in Jesus’ time is not clear.
What is clear is we know the Sadducees placed considerable emphasis on the anything from the Pentateuch.
For the Sadducees, these great scholars, they just knew they had Jesus trapped.
Does Mark present the Sadducees’ scenario of the seven brothers and the childless woman as real or hypothetical?
There are some scholars who argue that this account is a creation of the early church.
However, its difficult to imaging the early church fabricating a dialogue on the facticity of the resurrection without in some way talking about Jesus’ resurrection.
Because this lacks an allusion to the resurrection, argues in favor of its authenticity.

Understood Authority

What does it mean that the resurrected saints will be “like angels in heaven” (Mark 12:25)?
Some say:
this means we have the same spouse in heaven (this interpretation carries too much of this world into the next)
some claim, that like angles, humans will spend all their time worshipping God and will not have time for earthly relationships.
Others say sexual relationships will be done away with because that was for populating the earth.
The truth is that the Bible doesn’t really teach that much about the way things will be in heaven.
What it does say is:
we get glorified bodies
we will enjoy God
we will worship Him
we will serve Him forever
earthy relationships will be transformed and we will continue to enjoy those relationships
but, we don’t exactly know the exact nature of relationships
Why did Jesus quote from the book of Exodus to answer the Sadducees instead of another book of the Bible?
The Sadducees placed great emphasis on the OT teaching.
Knowing that, Jesus uses the word from the story of the burning bush found in Exodus 3:6:
Exodus 3:6 ESV
And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
The Sadducees considered themselves true believer, scholars, and upheld the OT as the authoritative word of God.
How is Jesus’ reference to Exod 3:6 in Mark 12:26 a proof of the resurrection?
Because the Sadducees considered Exodus authoritative,
and in the word from Exodus God said “I am” not “I was” the God of Abraham…
they were forced to see that God considers the patriarchs still alive.
Therefore, if God says the patriarchs are alive, then at the Resurrection God will raise up their bodies to live in eternal life.
HUM - There is a story that says a man whose obituary was printed in the paper rushed to the editor. The “corpse” lodged his protest: “How dare you print my obituary in the paper! I’m alive. See me. Here I am.” “I sure am sorry,” the editor answered, “And it’s too late to do anything about it. The best thing I can do for you is to put you in the ‘Birth Column’ tomorrow morning and give you a fresh start!”
A fresh start indeed!
For the Christian, we’ll have a fresh start in bodies built for eternity.
Not only will be be with Jesus, we never need to worry about being separated from Him again!

What do I do with this?

As we consider Jesus’ answering the Sadducees, we’re assured by God of our own resurrection as his righteous ones.
According to Paul, Jesus’ risen, imperishable body created the pattern for our resurrected bodies.
In all this we can rejoice; Jesus assurance and our future hope.
Also, it gives us the encouragement to invite others to experience what we have in Jesus.
CLOSE - Stand and read from 1 Cor 15:1-28 (while stressing the hope of our future resurrection):
1 Corinthians 15:1–28 ESV
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
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