18 Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also. 23 Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.”
The sadducees do not believe in the resurrection. They did not come asking because they really did not know and have been wondering. We can all have some questions that once asked we realize the absurdity of them, but that was not the case here. They were asking in hopes of making the resurrection seem absurd. It is true that in the law they were commanded to marry their deceased brother’s wife in order to give him offspring and have his name live on. But the Sadducees were twisting what was meant to try and make their point. So they ask about seven brothers all having had the same wife and wanting to know whose wife she will ultimately be.
24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Jesus goes to work correcting their thinking. He is always so faithful to do this and I love when He steps in and does this in my life. I love it because I do truthfully want to have the mind of Christ, I want to see things the way that He does. That is not so with the Sadducees, they have long ago made up their minds on where they stand in this regard. Who are we going to be like? I pray that I always remain open to what the Lord is saying to me, even if it is in correction. See I know that I am human and will get things wrong sometimes, I want God to be able to speak truth back into my life when my thoughts start to get carried off. So Jesus starts with you are mistake, you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. Can that be said of me and you as well? Do you know the scriptures? When you want to know something about a subject matter do you first look and see what the Scriptures have to say on it? Do you know the power of God? I know it in part, I know that He took me as the sinner I was an cleaned me up and did something new with my life. But I know I do not yet get it in full. The Sadducees were thinking that even if there was to be a resurrection it would just be a continuation of this life we live now, same rules and regulations apply, but that is not the reality. When we rise with Christ we are given new bodies that are fit for eternity. And things are different. The angels do not have babies and neither will we when we get to heaven. Therefore the sexual component of marriage is gone and marriage will cease to be important in Heaven. We do not know exactly what things will be like there. A few things we do know is it will be perfect, there will be constant worship of God and things will ruin differently because we will be under His control and not living in the world that is under satan’s control.
26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.”
If there was no resurrection and they just died and that was the end God’s word choice would have been different here. God says I am, present tense, the God of… If they died and that was the end of it the sentence would have read I was the God of… God is the God of those who are alive. The Sadducees had it wrong.
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
This question was another trap of sorts. They were wanting to see if in Jesus answer which is the first, greatest, commandment what if anything He would leave out from the law. Another way of seeing this question is in them asking which law is it most important that I obey. We can do that in our lives, can’t we? Where we see the whole of it and think it is to overwhelming so we want to be given just a glimpse of something small that is obtainable to do. We want the easy. Give me the greatest command, the one of most importance and that is the one I will follow.
29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Jesus sums up the law rather than giving the greatest commandment. Everything that is required of us is summed up in two things. First love God with all you have. Love Him with all you heart, all your soul and all your mind. Do you love God with all that you have? The second one is similar, love your neighbor as yourself. If our relationship with God is right then loving our neighbor is easier. If our relationship with the Lord is off then loving others becomes a challenge.
32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul,and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
God is not really interested in our sacrifice as His is in our hearts and in our love. This guy sees that. He knows that the way we please God is through love and obedience, not through what we come bringing to Him.
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him.
This guy gets it and is close to actually being part of the Kingdom of Heaven. The one thing he is missing is the one thing that matter most, that Jesus is the Messiah.
35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ 37 Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?” And the common people heard Him gladly.
Jesus, the Messiah was both before and after David. Wrapped in that truth was something that the scribes had yet to consider. Jesus does not take this time to trap them they way they do Him, instead He uses this opportunity to get to the heart of the matter. He is challenging them to think about who He truly is.