Jesus' argument with the Sadducees

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Jesus' argument with the Sadducees

Gospel text   12:18-27 :-

The Sadducees were the chief priests who controlled the Temple in Jerusalem.  They were not particularly religious and used their position to maintain their wealth and influence over the Jewish people.  They were happy with the position the Romans allowed them to have.  They did not believe in life after death and tried to trick Jesus into admitting that there was no resurrection after death.  They asked Jesus a ridiculous question about a woman who had married seven brothers after each one had died.  Which brother will be her husband in heaven, they wondered.  Jesus told them that in heaven people are like angels and do not marry.  Jesus then referred to the fact that God told Moses at the burning bush that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God said “I am” which meant that those three figures were still alive somehow.  Jesus concluded that God is the God of the living, not the dead, and that the Sadducees were completely wrong.

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Jesus' argument with the Sadducees

Key points:-

·       Jesus cleverly dealt with this ridiculous question.

·       Jesus made the point that heaven is very different to life on earth.

·       Jesus reminded the Sadducees that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still alive even though they had been ‘dead’ for a long time.

·       God is the God of the living, not the dead. In other words, no one is really dead.

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Jesus' argument with the Sadducees

The significance of this for Christians today:-

·       There is life after death.

·       Heaven is different from life on earth.

·       This is the Christian hope, it gives people something to look forward to, something to work towards.

·       People will hopefully see their loved ones again.

·       There is nothing to fear about death.

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Jesus' argument with the Sadducees

·       There is, however, uncertainty about what heaven will be like because it is different from life on earth.

·       Resurrection seems to happen immediately after death, not on the last day of time.

·       Belief in resurrection does not depend on Jesus’ resurrection as it existed before Jesus died and rose from the dead.

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Jesus' argument with the Sadducees

Explain why Jesus’ argument with the Sadducees about resurrection might have lead to conflict and its significance for Christians today

Describe story:-

The Sadducees try to challenge Jesus, knowing he preached about the afterlife by creating an absurd situation where a women marries six brothers who all die so who’s wife will she be at the resurrection?  However Jesus outmanoeuvred the Sadducees but saying they had misunderstood the scriptures: ‘For when dead rise they will be like angels in heaven’ ‘he is God of the living not of the dead’

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Jesus' argument with the Sadducees

Explain how story causes conflict:-

  •  Sadducees try to trick Jesus using law of Moses to show that it is impossible for there to be a resurrection of the dead. They ask Jesus what would happen if a woman married seven times and at resurrection she could not be married to them all or she would be breaking law of Moses: ‘When all the dead rise to life who’s wife will she be?’ They think they have shown resurrection cannot take place
  • Jesus replies by pointing out ‘how wrong they are’ as they do not know the scriptures.  Jesus explains that after resurrection humans will be like ‘angels in heaven’ and will not marry- marriage only lasts till death
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Jesus' argument with the Sadducees

  • The Sadducees were experts of the Torah- here Jesus is accuses them of not understanding the Torah: haven’t you ever read the book of Moses?’ Jesus uses Torah to prove there is last after death: when God appears to Moses in burning bush: ‘ I am God of Abraham’ this shows that Abraham is still alive and so there must be resurrection. He concludes that ‘God is God of the living not the dead’ 
  • Jesus’ answer would have annoyed the Pharisees as do believe in life after death but only at end of the world so Jesus was critising Pharisees and Sadducees’ teachings.
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Jesus' argument with the Sadducees

Explain significance for Christians today :-


  • Jesus made it clear there is life after death and that it would be different from life on Earth. Gives hope to Christians today that when they die they will go to heaven
  • Jesus helps Christians understand what heaven will be like when he explains that ‘they will be like angels in heaven’ so Christians will not need earthly bodies in heaven because they will become angels. This is reassuring to Christians that there suffering on Earth will end when they die

 

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