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The God of The Living

Ever had one of those days when it seems like everyone was just out to get you?

In our passage last week, the Pharisees sent their disciples-in-disguise to try tripping Jesus up in His Words. In today's section, we pick up the narrative after only a few hours, and, the barrage continues, but this time the attack comes from the Sadducees, who don't believe in the resurrection. So convinced of themselves and their theological position, they proceed with a pretty far fetched story of a woman who married & buried seven brothers. Then came the doubters question for the King: "So, Jesus, whose wife will she be in eternity?"

Well, what do you think? Do you believe in heaven? Are you sure?

Join us in Matthew's account of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Today's sermon is entitled, "The God of The Living".

Matthew 22.23-33 (esv)

23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

life application questions

blue = leaders only

growing in truth: Last week, the Pharisees plotted how to entangle Jesus in his words. Read Mt22.15-22.

This week it's the Sadducees turn to challenge Jesus. Read Mt22.23-33.

In a nutshell, what was the scenario that the Sadducees proposed in their effort to trip Jesus. Citing Moses, they said 'If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.' They then suggested this widow “rescue” could happen multiple times with the result that the woman would been passed from brother to brother. The “got you” question was: “So... Jesus, whose husband will she be in your proposed afterlife?” They hoped Jesus would surrender to their supposed superior logic: “Oh wow! You’re right about Moses’ instruction. What was I thinking? If we extrapolate out My way of thinking, familial relationships in heaven would be a mess, wouldn’t they? Well that won’t work, because surely heaven wouldn’t be messy. Thanks for correcting Me and pointing as much out to everyone in the crowd following Me.

What is a Sadducee and what is the well-known play-on-words regarding their title? They were religious leaders, temple managers, usually the privileged & wealthy “upper class”. “They don’t believe in heaven, and that is ‘sad, you see’.”

What do Sadducees believe happen at death? annihilation: complete destruction

Why are Sadducees sad? Our hope is in a resurrected Messiah. Annihilation is contraindicated by the whole of scripture. The Sadducees were wearing blinders to the rest of the Old Testament. They read only the Pentateuch: first 5 books of the Hebrew bible authored by Moses, whom they regarded as “the” teacher. They were rejecting “the” promised Messiah: Jesus who came w/power & authority, standing in front of them, the One their “teacher” Moses hoped for. So they were sad because they had no hope in anything more than their brief effort at life and what they could accomplish here and now for themselves: wealth, status, etc.

In human terms, why would Sadducees—who knew the Pentateuch well and consequently the verse Jesus cited—refuse to acknowledge such truth? They were at the pinnacle of Jewish religious life, keepers of the temple. If Jesus is the Messiah, then their congregations would turn & follow Jesus instead. Jesus wasn’t going to stay in the temple. He was the temple, and he was mobile. Their custodial positions would be terminated. They could be followers, but no longer leaders, at least not as they were accustomed. They would lose all they valued here & now, trading the temporal for the eternal.

What was Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees challenge?

"You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”

The Pentateuch doesn't talk much about eternal life, but according to Jesus, it clearly says enough. Can you paraphrase & explain His citation from the Pentateuch? God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am.”... And he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. -Ex3.4-6

Humanly speaking, all three of those saints were dead. “I am” is not “I was”, or even “I might be again.” Jesus adds, “He is not God of the dead, but of the living." God lives and is the God of those saints who were very much still alive with Him, honoring & glorifying Him. (A ‘god of the annihilated’ is no god at all.)

What does “but are like angels in heaven” mean? Angles don't make new angels. The “called” will be home. We will relate to one another as faithful worshipers of our King Jesus.

How should knowing “eternal life” effect your “present life” today? Discuss. It should cause a hunger & thirst in us to draw nearer & know the eternal, glorious God who gives us life and made us in His image & likeness. (And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John17.3 ) It should cause us to speak with Him in prayer asking that His will be done in our lives. It should cause us to love the unloveable as He loved us. It should cause us to desire His people’s fellowship, as we help one another know our King.

Does lacking an answer to every theological question mean you can’t believe in the interim? Discuss. Gods eternal mind vs our finite God created brains. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hb11.1)

Why do you think the following crowds were “astonished”? Discuss.

sharing life together: Is the reality of everlasting life and heaven precious to you?

Which motivates you more: heaven, or hell? Discuss.

How can we help one another value heaven more?

living on mission: How do we help our community to think about their eternal destination?

proclaim / Matthew / The God of The Living