Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "Setting the Sadducees Straight"
Jesus takes another step closer to the cross as a result of his confrontation with the Sadducees. The Sadducees are the chief rivals to the Pharisees politically and theologically. They are characterized by three doctrines: 1) they only affirm the authority of the 5 books of Moses (Pentateuch), 2) they disavow the doctrine of the resurrection, and 3) they deny the existence of angels. Armed with this theology, they confront Jesus and try to undermine his credibility through what they feel is a logical inconsistency in the doctrine of the resurrection.
The Sadducees put forward a hypothetical story whereby seven brothers marry the same woman in succession due to the death of the previous brother (in accordance with the biblical commands of Deut 25). Then, in their quest to shame Jesus, they ask which of the seven brothers will be her husband in the life to come. But Jesus’ response puts his supreme authority and superior wisdom on display. On the one hand, he clarifies that there is no marriage in the age to come while on the other hand He irrefutably proves that the Pentateuch affirms the doctrine of the resurrection. Therefore, the Sadducees are pinned and exposed as hypocrites and frauds.
1. When was the last time you gave serious thought to the reality of a future resurrection and how might this affect any specific trials you are walking through today?
2. Imagine that you and a friend are talking about this passage. How might you try to explain or clarify the nature of Jesus’ wisdom revealed in this story? What is it that makes it so amazing? And what difference does this make for daily living?
3. Singles: Given the temporary nature of marriage, how might this passage inform your singleness?
4. Marrieds: Given the temporary nature of marriage, how might this passage inform your marriage?
[by Daniel Morrison]