Faithlife Sermons

The Gospel of Mark: You are in Error!

The Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

The Resurrection is real.

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
Text: Mark 12:18-27
Theme: The Resurrection is real.
Doubters of the resurrection are not a new phenomenon. What is a new phenomenon is how many professing Christians doubt it.
In 2007 Simcha Jacobovici, a Jewish-Canadian journalist, and archaeology enthusiast made headlines when he wrote and stared in a documentary entitled The Lost Tomb of Jesus. It’s about the 1980 Talpiot Tomb discovery in Jerusalem. Talpiot is an Israeli neighborhood in southeastern Jerusalem. In 1980, an ancient tomb was discovered under a building site. The tomb contained 10 ossuaries, boxes for holding the bones of the deceased. Based on the names on some of the ossuaries, Jacobovici claims it’s actually the lost burial cave of Jesus and his family. His film, and its supporters, claim that the Talpiot Tomb was the final resting place of Jesus of Nazareth and his family. Not only had they “proved” that Jesus was not raised from the dead, but they claimed to have evidence that Jesus was married and had children. Over the subsequent years the evidence has not stood up to additional archaeology scrutiny.
It was just another attempt by the cultural elite in Western culture to deny the central tenant of the Christian faith. What I find so astonishing is the number of professing Christians in the west who are resurrection deniers. In a poll taken in April of this year (2019) over half of Christians in the United Kingdom believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In America we’re not quite so skeptical ... yet; but 23% of professing Christians in America have serous doubts about the validity of the resurrection.
Unfortunately, the Church has always had to deal with resurrection-naysayers. “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:12–19, NIV84)
In this evening’s text we see that the opposition of the religious leaders to Jesus had been steadily growing since he had cleansed the Temple. Each opposing group attempted to discredit Him with the confrontational issues of the day. The Pharisees, the chief priests, scribes, and elders, and the Herodians had all taken their theological shots at him. Now the Sadducees addressed their favorite issue — the "Resurrection." This evenings text reveals the Religious Conjecture of the Sadducees, Resurrection Considerations of the Savior, and Relevant Concerns for the Saints.
Jesus' encounter with the Sadducees has quite a message for God's people today. Let's examine the different movements of this encounter as they unfold the message God has for us today.


1. OK ... who were these guys?
a. this is the first time we find them mentioned in Mark’s gospel
2. The Sadducees Were the Aristocracy of Their Society
a. they were proud and arrogant and extremely status conscience
b. they were worldly, ill mannered and rude
ILLUS. Josephus, a Jewish historian of the 1st century, wrote, "The Sadducees...are, even among themselves, rather boorish in their behavior, and in their intercourse with their peers are as rude as aliens."
c. as the upper-crust of society’s upper-crust, their primary interest was in maintaining the political status-quo
1) to accomplish this, they collaborated with the Roman occupation of Israel
3. The Sadducees Were the Religious Elite of Their Day
a. the Jewish High Priest, and all the Chief, or high-ranking Priests were Sadducees
b. they composed the bulk of the Sanhedrin, exerting a religious and political clout is proportionate to their numbers
4. The Sadducees Were the Uber-rich of Their Day
a. which is why they were interested in maintaining the status-quo
1) they had the most sumptuous homes in Jerusalem
2) they had villas and vacation home in Jericho
3) they hosted lavish banquets
4) their clothing, their dishes, and their furniture were all imported from outside the country
b. they were uber-rich because it was the Sadducees who owned the rights to the merchant’s stalls and money-changing enterprise in the Temple
1) do you think they might have been a little concerned about Jesus’ ‘cleansing of the Temple’ the day before?
5. The Sadducees Were the Theological Liberals of Their Day
a. they rejected the supernatural because it wasn’t rational
b. they did not believe in angels
c. they denied the existence of miracles
d. they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead because it defied human logic
e. they didn’t believe in the afterlife; rejecting the notions of eternal punishment or eternal reward
f. their authority, they claimed, was Moses himself
1) Moses didn’t teach about any of these things and so they rejected them
6. the Sadducees were as interested in discrediting Jesus as were the Scribes and Pharisees
a. any movement or any person that might upset order and authority was bound to appear dangerous in their eyes
b. that the Sadducees would join forces with the Pharisees in this effort is amazing
1) it would be like asking the far-left-wing of the Democratic Party and the far-right-wing of the Republican Party to see eye-to-eye on anything
ILLUS. Imagine, if you can, putting Shawn Hanity and Senator Kamala Harrisand in the same room and asking them to have a civil conversation about the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. There would probably be fireworks.


"Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, 19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. 21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. 22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. 23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife." (Mark 12:18-23, NIV)
1. the Sadducees prided themselves on being rational and logical in thought
a. their hypothetical situation was meant to be a brain-teaser designed to drive the legalistic Pharisees nuts
b. it was a question akin to asking “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”
2. in their attempt to discredit Jesus, notice the unlikely scenario they described for Jesus
a. what they are referring to in their story is Leverite marriage (verse 19)
ILLUS. Moses had given this law in Deuteronomy 25. It was an ancient custom whereby, if a married man died his brother was duty bound to marry the widow, and father children in his brother’s name. This preserved his sibling’s blood line from dying out and kept the family wealth intact. It was a convenient social custom. But the picture the Sadducees painted was a very unlikely one indeed. They posed the hypothetical situation whereby, one by one, seven brothers would marry the same woman. Each, in turn, would die without fathering a child. Upon the death of each husband, the brother next in line would marry the woman. No children would be produced from these marriages. And finally, the woman herself would die.
b. I’ve got to be honest, if I was brother number four, I’d would be giving serious consideration to relocating and not leaving a forwarding address
3. the question the Sadducees had was: Whose wife would she be in the resurrection?
a. now, the Sadducees could have cared less about whose wife someone would be in the resurrection
1) they didn't even believe in the resurrection
b. they were merely playing a game with words to put Jesus between a rock-and-a-hard-place
c. they chose the wrong opponent
4. Jesus replies to them in verse 24, a verse we shall examine in more detail in a few moments
a. He tells them that they are greatly mistaken about the resurrection
b. they are mistaken for two reasons
1) the first is ignorance of God's word
2) the second is ignorance of God’s power


1. in response to their quandary, Jesus goes on to address certain considerations about the resurrection
a. I’m sure the Pharisees actually enjoyed this ... Jesus has made them look like fools on numerous occasions, now He’s doing the same to the Sadducees


1. in verse 25 Jesus says, "When they rise from the dead ..."
a. He does not say if they rise from the dead, but when they rise from the dead
b. Jesus believed in the resurrection, and so should we
2. the resurrection is the believer’s great hope
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice ... “ (1 Pet. 1:3-6, NIV)
ILLUS. John G. Paton was a nineteenth-century missionary who felt called of God to go to the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific. He met tremendous opposition from family and friends because the natives of the New Hebrides were known to be cannibals. A well-meaning church member moaned to him, “The cannibals, the cannibals! You will be eaten by the cannibals!” Without hesitation, Paton replied, “I confess to you that if I can live and die serving my Lord Jesus Christ, it makes no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms; for in that Great Day of Resurrection, my body will rise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer!”
3. the resurrection ... it’s a sure thing!


1. when we rise from the dead, we will be spiritual beings living in a glorious kingdom beyond description
a. Jesus says, in verse 25, that there is no marriage in heaven, and that we will be like the angels
2. this verse teaches us two things
a. First, the glory of eternal fellowship with the Father and with the saints
1) marriage was designed by God for companionship and the perpetuation of the human race on the earth – it will not be needed in the Kingdom
2) in heaven believers will experience an entirely new existence in which we will have perfect spiritual relationships with God and with everyone else
3) in this world we need a ‘helpmeet’ but in the Kingdom, God is our all-in-all
b. Second, the glory of glorious spiritual bodies
1) believers will be like angels in that they will be spiritual, eternal beings who will not die
2) the Apostle Paul speaks of our resurrection bodies in his 1st letter to the believers at Corinth
“There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (1 Cor. 15:41-44, NIV)


1. this brings us to the relevant concerns of this portion of Scripture


1. to deny it is to deny the faith ... period ... end of story
a. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. [and if you don’t believe that] You are badly mistaken!”


v. 24. "Jesus said to them, 'Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures ... “
1. in the Sadducees of old and in many people today, there is a woeful ignorance of the principles of Scripture
a. because they did not understand the Scriptures, they were mistaken about the resurrection
b. they didn't understand the Scripture because they didn't take time to thoroughly study the Scriptures
2. the Scriptures are the word of God, and we either trust their infallibility or we don’t
ILLUS. Early this year Methodist Pastor Adam Hamilton preached a message on the nature of Scripture. Adam Hamilton, the pastor of the 22,000 member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. It is the largest UMC in the world. He suggests that all the texts in the Bible must be sorted into three different buckets. The first bucket contains verses that never amounted to “the expression of God’s will.” They are passage we can simply ignore. The second bucket encompasses texts that, at one time, denoted the expressed will of God, but no longer. The last bucket holds texts that “are true expressions of God’s will and always will be.” Hamilton argues that human beings are to decide which biblical texts are—or ever have been— God’s Word.
a. the audacity of such men never ceases to amaze me
1) who gets to decide what biblical text goes in which bucket?
2) oh ... wait ... theological elites like Pastor Adam Hamilton get to decide.


1. these Sadducees were familiar neither with the Scriptures nor the power of God
2. we are never called simply to know the letter of the Scriptures
a. Scripture and Spirit must be wed together in order for the Scriptures to have the powerful effect God intends them to have
3. in his letter to the Christians at Philippi, the Apostle Paul wrote that His great desire in life is, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Phil. 3:10)
a. we experience the power of God by coming into that dynamic, personal relationship with God's Son by His Spirit
As we bring together the Scriptures and the power of God, we will find His hand upon our lives, leading us, into all truth.
Related Media
Related Sermons