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Refuting the Resurrection Refuters

Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

REMINDER:
Luke 1:1–4 ESV
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
PRAY
Luke 20:27–40 ESV
There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, 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 must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.” And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 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, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 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. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

The Refuters Come

There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection - Who were the Sadducees? They are only mentioned in Luke’s gospel in this place. Here are some quick facts about this group of religious leaders.
They were a numerically small religious sect with the nation of Israel.
They were the aristocrats of Israel. They were very wealthy and held many positions of power. Many were high priests.
The Sadducees were the majority on the Sanhedrin. They were friendly with Rome, who granted them the power to rule over many matters in Israel.
The believes that the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, written by Moses should be held in priority over the rest of the Scriptures. They thought the other books were commentary on the writings of Moses.
They were seen as religious purists and were absolutely relentless and ruthless in delivering justice and their way in the religious life of Israel. The common people hated them.
They did not believe in the resurrection. They did not think that resurrection was mentioned directly by Moses, so they ignored the other writings of the Old Testament that referred to life after death.
They were caustic against the resurrection and those that believed. They would mock and scoff at the whole thing. Some of this was due to the Pharisees preoccupation with the details of the resurrection. The Pharisees debated and discussed whether one would be clothed, what clothes would one wear, would the clothes be new or old, and many other particularities.
Since they did not believe in the resurrection, they were focused and fixated on getting the most out of this life. They were extremely pragmatic and temporally focused.
They would have personally had the most to lose in power and profit, if Jesus would have continued to be able to teach what he was teaching and do the things he was doing.

The Refuting Conundrum

And they asked him a question - This group of religious leaders are not asking Jesus something in order to be taught. Luke has clearly told his readers that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. They are settled in their view. Therefore, they are asking Jesus a question in order to make his look foolish in front of the people.
Saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. - They show Jesus some false respect by calling him Rabbi. They refer to what is call levirate marriage.
And they asked him a question
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.

The purpose of the law was not to let the dead, childless brother’s line die out; the first son of the new marriage (not any of the other children) would be regarded as the dead man’s child.

Saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. -
For the nation of Israel, passing on of the family name and the inheritance within a family tribe mattered greatly (see and ).
The Sadducees are presenting the following scenario in order to undermine the validity of the resurrection. They are seeking to show that the resurrection is absurd because of dilemma caused by their example.
Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, likewise all seven left no children and died. - We are not absolutely certain if this example is hypothetical or actual. Some of the wording in Matthew’s account implies that this actually occurred in the history of Israel, but it could be a theoretical scenario used to make a point. In any case, a woman married a brother who had six other brothers. Her first husband dies without her having any children, so one of his brothers keep the levirate law and marries her.
He dies without an heir, a third brother marries her. The third die without an heir, a fourth brother marries her. The fourth dies without an heir, a fifth brother marries her. The fifth dies without an heir,
Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, likewise all seven left no children and died.
a sixth brother marries her. The sixth brother dies without an heir, the seventh brother marries her. The seventh brother die without and heir. Finally, the woman is a widow without an heir.
Afterward that woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as a wife.” - In the final phase of the example, the seven times widowed widow dies. The Sadducees see a dilemma with the resurrection as they thought it to be, so they ask.
In eternal life, who is the woman’s husband? To whom does she belong in the resurrection? Why? Because she had all seven as husbands.
R.C.H. Lenski presents the so called problem well:

So the conundrum is propounded to Jesus. Supposing for the sake of argument that there is a resurrection, and that these dead bodies of ours rise again from their graves—what about this woman? All seven brothers were equally her husband—in the resurrection will all seven together be her husband? The very idea is monstrous already in this life and how much more in the life to come! Or which one of the seven will be her husband, and why the one, and why not some other one of the seven, she having had a child by none? When seven hold equal rights, why set aside six? Again an impossible situation. The Sadducees are thus certain that there is no resurrection, and that Moses himself proves it in Deuteronomy, and that no man can overthrow this solid proof. We may well suppose that they had tried this proof against many a Pharisee and had made a laughingstock of every opponent. Jesus was to be their next victim.

The Refutation Crushed

And Jesus said to them, The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 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, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection - Jesus’answer is plain and simple. He declares to the Sadducees that they are wrong because the next stage in life in not the same as the current stage. Let’s summarize Jesus’ refutation.
The children of this time do marry
And Jesus said to them, The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 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, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
The children whom God considers qualified (we would also understand that God makes qualified through Christ) to be resurrected to life do not marry or are they married
The children of the next age do not marry because they do not die and there is no need for procreation to preserve humanity.
The children of the risen life are like the angelic beings in that there is an exact number that does not change because they continual perpetually in the life of God.
But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he call the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Issac and the God of Jacob - Not only does Jesus declare to them the difference in the resurrection age and the current age, he supports that reality of the resurrection by interpreting Scripture correctly.
Resurrection exists he proclaims. Then he refers to Moses, which is who the Sadducees misinterpreted and one whom they believed had superior authority over the rest of the OT.
But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he call the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Issac and the God of Jacob - Not only does Jesus declare to them the difference in the resurrection age and the current age, he supports that reality of the resurrection by interpreting Scripture correctly. Resurrection exists he proclaims. Then he refers to Moses, which is who the Sadducees misinterpreted and one whom they believed had superior authority over the rest of the OT.
He recalls to their memory Moses and the burning bush, which is what we call a theophany, which a physical manifestation or revelation of God to a person. It is important to note that Jesus is referring to Moses record of the meeting in Scripture.
Exodus 3:2–6 ESV
And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 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 point that Jesus is making is that Yahweh self-discloses to Moses that He is (present tense) the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. This is after all of these men had physically dead.
So, either God is a liar or Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in the afterlife still living in some sense. They are awaiting to full resurrection of the physical dead at the end of the age.
Now he is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” - Jesus summarizes the teaching. Yahweh is not the God of lifeless, decaying corpses with no future but to rot into oblivion, He is the God of the living because of the life that he gives them.
Now he is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” -

The Refuters Confounded

Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” - The copyists of the Scriptures gathered there had their minds blown. They commended Jesus with his defense of the resurrection. They had probably never heard anyone else answer this question accurately.
Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they not longer dared to ask him any question.
For they no longer dared to ask him any question - The Sadducees were “sad you see”. They were silenced, which means that Jesus had confounded and perplexed representatives from all the major sects of the religious leaders of Israel. They have failed to trick him in any way.

Practical Application

Practical Application

Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life knows the realities of what God has promised to his children. Though the religious leaders should have bowed to him in worship, they will conspired to have him killed unjustly. We should be humbled because of his submission to the Father’s will.
Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life knows the realities of what God has promised to his children.
Only those who are worthy will experience resurrection life the way Jesus described.
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
If Jesus, who is the Word of God incarnate carefully studied and interpreted the Scriptures, then we should seek know the truth of the Holy Scriptures.
Matthew 22:29 ESV
But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
Our hope is bound up in One who conquered all that was keeping us from eternal life.
Revelation 1:12–18 ESV
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
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