Imagine the billions of people in world history who based their entire lives – and went to the grave – following a false philosophy of life. They went on, not to what their beliefs taught them, but on to an entirely unexpected surprise. Whether Humanists or Polytheists, Deists or Theists, we’re all potentially in for a big shock when we die.
The Sadducees of Jesus’ time did not believe in the afterlife, in resurrection, or even in angels. Today’s Atheists would agree with them on this point. The Sadducees did, however, believe in God.
They too, came to Jesus to bring a trick question. While they believed there was no resurrection, religious Jews followed the law of Moses. These Sadducees tried to put Jesus in the middle of a controversy. The law of Moses taught that if a woman marries a man who then dies without producing a son (or heir), the nearest relative (usually a brother) must marry her and produce an heir with her for his deceased brother. The Sadducees took this to the extreme, telling the story of seven brothers who all married a woman in succession, each dying before producing an heir. If that wasn’t enough, they then asked Jesus who’s wife she would be at the resurrection (remember, they did not believe in a resurrection at all).
Jesus, who not only raised Lazarus from the dead, and who Himself would soon be raised by God after three days in the tomb – Jesus who is the resurrection – showed them exactly where their philosophies failed. Jesus told them plainly that they knew neither the Scriptures nor the power of God (Mark 12:24). Jesus set them straight on two points:
- When the dead rise, they will neither marry or be given in marriage – they’ll be like angels (Mark 12:25)
- God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And He pointed them to the Scriptures – Ex. 3:6 – to prove His point
Are you living your life based on false philosophies, on lies, on the words of mere men? May I suggest you prayerfully study the scriptures – investing all the time possible into daily study in this world, right now. Otherwise, when you come to the end of your life, you may find that you were “badly mistaken” (Mark 12:27).
In this, the 64th week of writing these reflections on the Gospel of Mark, may I introduce you to the primary source of my daily study of scripture, Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF). Approaching twelve years as a class member, I can testify to BSF’s faithfulness to the Scriptures, not from any denominational perspective or bias, but from validating Scripture with Scripture. Find a class near you at www.bsfinternational.org.