Today in Mark, we look at Chapter 12:18-27
18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; 21 and the second married the widow and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; 22 none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. 23 In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”
24 Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither 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. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”
Once again, we see another group coming to test Jesus based off something that they didn’t even really believe. The Sadducees come asking Him a question about the resurrection when, in fact, they didn’t believe in the resurrection.
First, why didn’t they believe in the resurrection? There were lots of different divisions of the religious leaders in Jesus day, but one of the greatest divides was between that of the Sadducees and the Pharisees. They were both religious leaders, but the Sadducees were more associated with the Temple and thePharisees were more associated with local synagogues.
There was also a disagreement among them over the authority of their scripture. The Pharisees believed that all the Old Testament was inspired and had authority while the Sadducees only believed that to be true of the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah, the Books of Moses.
And that’s why they didn’t believe in the resurrection, because nowhere in their belief system did they find the resurrection mentioned. Now it’s found in other places in the Old Testament (and remember, as Christians, we are going to read the Old Testament in a different way, we see evidence of resurrection and eternity there).
Ok, in this text a couple of things to be aware of. First, the business of brother’s marrying the widow of their brother. That was the custom of the day, so they were trying to carry for this accepted religious practice of the day into eternity.
In this Jesus says, there will not be marriage in heaven. So, what is heaven like? No one really knows, Scripture doesn’t really say, other than to say it will be amazing. A few things here. First, notice that Jesus DID NOT say that we will be angels in heaven. He said we will be LIKE, but will NOT BE. Angels are created beings, just like humans are created being. We do not become angels in heaven. That’s common cultural misconceptions. Jesus says that will be BE LIKE angels, not BECOME them. Scripture does not say that we become angels when we did.
So, what does it mean to be like angels? Good question. Not really sure. It is understood to mean that we are part of God’s heavenly court. We have access to God. We are part of the group that worships God. We are accepted fully into God’s kingdom. Like the angels. Paul attempts to answer this question of what it will be like 1 Corinthians 15 and the best way that he can describe it is “spiritual bodies.” We don’t know what that means other than it will a body and it will be different.
Ok, another question this raises is will we know each other in heaven? My belief is yes, based off other passages. After death, Saul recognized Samuel. The Disciples recognized Moses and Elijah. I believe that we will know each other in heaven. It will be different; it will not be exactly like here on earth. But in some way, we will know each other.
Remember from this passage, as well as yesterday’s to think about how we approach Jesus. In both of these passages, people did not come to Jesus for wisdom or to have legitimate questions answered, they came to test Him and trip Him. They weren’t really seeking His face.
Let’s not make that same mistake. Let’s seek His face. And in doing that we will find all we need.
Wednesday we’ll look at Mark 12:28-34.
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