Written By Scripture

Written By Scripture: Mark 12:18-27
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday January 24, 2021

IN a few moments we’ll study the scripture that was just read to us. I want to encourage you in something before we start. If you’re not a believer in Christ this morning as your Lord and as your savior – all that we’ll talk about is true, but just a neat story. God’s word is alive and active and designed to grab you deeply, in your spirit.

Today, we’ll experience Jesus – the living word, interacting with logical men who’ve read Scripture and studied scripture, but what they held to be true wasn’t written by the Scripture rather it was written by the wisdom of men – we see lots of that even right now in the political arena. We’ve pretended that one side of the political spectrum holds the answer and the right way – democrats are the party of peace and wisdom, republicans are the party of God and wisdom and we are a nation divided across those lines – however we as Christians know our strength, power, wisdom and truth come from neither.

We would do well to watch this interaction and consider where the truth we live from finds its life and breath – this word is designed to grab our attention, and mobilize our spirit first to salvation and next to awe, wonder and worship – and once we’re gripped by truth everything else becomes secondary

Mark 12:18–27 (ESV)
The Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying,

The reference here by Mark that NOW we’re dealing not with the Pharisees and Herodians but a different group – they’re throwing in every effort they can to trap Jesus, now we’re dealing with the Sadducees. however, they’re not just someones patsy, they have their own angle and Mark calls that out as do Matthew and look in their recording this event (Matt 22:23Luke 20:27). Look again at verse 18, “who say that there is no resurrection”. This is no disinterested sidetone like some color commentary on the sports players background and family tree, not just come interesting factoid like Neil Armstrong spelled backwards is Gnorts Mr. Alien – no this is key to the position and argumentation of the Sadducees.

Matthew 22:23 (ESV)
Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question,

Luke 20:27 (ESV)
Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection
27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,

As Pastor John said last week, and as we see in the Pharisees and Herodians, they appear to be asking innocent probing curious questions of this leader who they’re trying, thinly, to butter up. This issues of the resurrection is the hinge pin of their question. They’ve designed it to be a trap, similar to the earlier question(s) on who John is, and whether or not Jews should pay tax… now this odd question on marriage. Lets see what they ask and look at what they’re doing:

19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.

These Sadducees were a conservative group of Jews, they looked closely to the Pentateuch – Gen through Deut and found them to be particularly authoritative. In them they found no precedent for resurrection after death. To them any talk of resurrection was not just wrong, it was dangerous. What they’re trying to set up is a logical conundrum for the requirements found in the Pentateuch and an apparent difficulty that a resurrected life would cause. They’re trying to show that what Jesus teaches about resurrection from death to final eternal life is in an apparent conflict with the generally respected teachings of the Pentateuch which all Jews would hold true.

Like Pastor John Nicholas said, they too are like Snidley Whiplash twisting their mustache thinking of this plan coming together. They read the scriptures, they studied the scriptures, then they wrote their own truth footnoting, scripture. There is a danger in this, footnoting scripture allows us to fill in the details and draw new conclusions. WE see as Christian principals and drips and drops of scripture seek into the the public square often these are people who’ve studied scripture and even footnote it, but truth for them isn’t authored by it. And we’ll see that in the Sadducees.

20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring.
21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise.
22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died.
23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

“Got Him”, they likely think.

Deuteronomy 25:5–10 (ESV)

5 “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her.
6 And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.
7 And if the man does not wish to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to perpetuate his brother’s name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’
8 Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him, and if he persists, saying, ‘I do not wish to take her,’
9 then his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face. And she shall answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’
10 And the name of his house shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal pulled off.’

And so, what they’ve set up is a socially awkward situation for this family in resurrected life. Logic leads them to this end. They believe that their logic has proven what Jesus and the Pharisees (and others hold) about the resurrection into new life with God, in valid. They think no matter which way Jesus turns He is trapped here. What they don’t realize is that the logic of man is God’s foolishness, yet is man’s wisdom. Truth is written by them, footnoted only by scripture.

How about us?

Do we have areas of belief that aren’t informed by scripture but rather human logic and thinking and are we ready to have those exposed and corrected by God’s own word?

Recently a brother shared a snippet from Voddie Bauchman sharing that people often approach him expressing it ridiculous that he would hold to a literal view of the Genesis account one, he said, approached him saying “you mean you think that God created everything in one week”- to which Voddie said no – 6 days, he rested on the 7th.

The verbal gymnastics that people are willing to go through to move around a plain read of scripture to logic their way into God’s miraculous creation is incredible – once we’re gripped by truth everything else is secondary!

And this is a classic example of the sin of self trust lead to the original fall in the garden. We’ve said time and time again, the fruit wasn’t what was the cause of the fall, the cause of the fall was the willingness to choose against God’s plain truth in His Word when given the opportunity. And this is the sin we wrestle with still.

Scripture DID teach resurrection, Jesus the living Word who came and satisfied prophecy about Him who validated time-and-time again His divinity through His works, taught resurrected life, and here we see human logic pitted against the revealed truth and will of God.

How will it stand?

Seems easy right?

What about when we ask questions like these:

  • How could a good God send people to hell and judge their sin?
  • Why wouldn’t God just choose everyone?
  • Why wouldn’t God give me a … husband/wife, better job, easier life, more money…

These doubts are threads from the same ball of yarn, they doubt what God has said and revealed to us about His own nature and His own character and His own intentions. Perhaps they seem plain to us, but we see now dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12) and we live in time bound limited creation as creatures where as God’s ways aren’t bound, are timeless, and enjoy all the realities of creator – His ways are higher than are ways (Isaiah 55:8).

1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV)
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Isaiah 55:8 (ESV)
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?

This is not the first time that Jesus has used this argumentation “[…]you know neither the scriptures[…]” that stings because they do “know” the scripture in a since.

25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Interesting that they pitted resurrection against marriage and this approach to continuation of the generational lines by marrying the wife of a brother who’d died without offspring. No concern for so many other earthly faculties such as reproduction, generational continuation, procreation, death – rather their “like” the angels in heaven. Not given in marriage no need to procreate but a number of them set, not dying but living with God.

26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?

God, the I Am, who covenanted with Israel in Abraham made they they jews citizens of national Israel through a patriarchal system in a covenant guaranteed by God – including the resurrection from death into future life with God who IS the God of Abraham Isaac, and Jacob, who too – will be raised.

Death, we know, has no sting.

1 Corinthians 15:53–57 (ESV)
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55  “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When God resurrects His saints into a new life in future eternity He will un-do all the wrong brought on through human disobedience – everything is reversed and full value is brought through the culmination of all God’s work, in the fullness of time – we see this in his miraculous word once we’re gripped by truth everything else is secondary!

27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

Years later Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:13-19 is still dealing with this:

1 Corinthians 15:13–19 (ESV)
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.


Because it is tough for the natural mind to grip spiritual concepts, once we’re gripped by truth everything else is secondary!

When we read scripture we’re in God’s living Word, it is our source of truth and understanding – everything is corrected and understood through the lens of God’s Word; and so in a world that since the fall in the garden has worked to twist God’s word – we must be both familiar and cautious with it.

As Jesus concluded with the Pharisees in our study last week that they should “render to God the things that are Gods” we too should give all ourselves and all our lives to God. I you’re hearing this study this morning as someone who is not all submitted to God in all things – repent.

See the truth of your self as simple and needful up and against a holy righteous awesome God and be saved. Put aside everything else, especially resistant pride like we saw in these “logical” Sadducees who knew neither the scriptures nor the power of God, and be saved.

And to the believing ones this morning – remember once we’re gripped by truth everything else is secondary live like that’s so. Don’t you want that? It is yours for the taking.

Be free to worship and let your life, let truth, and let your worship be written by scripture.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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