The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.” But Jesus answered them, “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. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘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.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
(Matthew 22:23-33 ESV)
Over the past few days we’ve studied a few scenes that took place during the last week of Jesus’ life in which He is confronted in the Temple by various Jewish leaders who were seeking to discredit Him in front of the crowd. The Temple at this time of year – the Passover season – would have been filled with pilgrims from all over Israel and nearby lands.
In the end, though, it was the Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees who were discredited and embarrassed because Jesus responded to their inquiries with confidence and authority. And when the crowd heard Jesus’ teaching they were astonished.
No one in Israel had ever heard a rabbi speak so confidently or with such an air of authority on spiritual issues as Jesus. And certainly no one had ever before been able to go one-on-one with the Jewish religious leaders and leave them speechless. These leaders had approached Jesus in front of the people with the intent of ruining His reputation but instead it was their reputation that was crumbling.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this. Matthew records several other times when people who heard Jesus’ words and saw His deeds were awed [Matthew 7:28, 8:27, 9:8, 19:25, 22:22 et. al].
When one studies the life of Jesus, as we are doing during this daily study of the Gospel of Matthew, one cannot help but be amazed by things Jesus did and said. Anyone who dismisses Jesus as a fraud has never truly studied His life. Such people dismiss Jesus not because what Jesus said is not true but because what Jesus said is so true that they can’t bring themselves to believe it without giving up their ego.
And this is exactly why Jesus left heaven and came to earth [Philippians 2:5-8]. He came to offend our hearts [Matthew 13:57]. He came to teach us that man-made religion is a fraud because it is nothing more than people making up their own rules about how to get to heaven and, therefore, counts for nothing.
The things Jesus said exposed the Jewish religious system for being a fraud. The things Jesus said contradict every man-made religion that exists on the planet today. They contradict Catholicism. They contradict Islam. They contradict Mormonism. They contradict Hinduism and all the others.
This is why these religions have a distorted view of Jesus. Islam calls Jesus a prophet. Mormons consider Jesus a human being. They need to do this in order to dilute His teachings otherwise their own teachings will be proven wrong as were those of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
No reasonably open-minded person can study Jesus’ teachings and dismiss them. The only valid response is astonishment followed by repentance and submission to Him as Lord and Savior.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.