Debating the Afterlife

Matthew 22:23–33 (NKJV, also appearing in Mark 12:18–27; Luke 20:27–40 )

23 The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24 saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. 27 Last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”

The Saducees, another sect of the Jewish faith alongside the Pharisees, did not believe in a physical resurrection. They tested Jesus by presenting a scenario where seven brothers each died in order and the first to die “left’ his wife to the next oldest brother, and each brother took her in kind as the older brother passed away. They asked Jesus whose wife she would be in the resurrection.

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

The Saducees’ belief in no resurrection was based upon their interpretation of Scriptures, seeing no reference to it in the Torah (first five books of the Bible). Jesus used a Scripture from the Torah to describe their condition (v. 29) and then uses common sense logic to tell them that God is the God of the living and not the dead. Therefore, if He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they are not dead. Their spirits are still alive, and a physical resurrection is coming. Cased closed. Debate ended. Jesus was just that good.

Artwork from https://www.alittleperspective.com/matthew-22-2016/

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