Matthew 22:23 (Answering the Sadducees 1: Who were the Sadducees?)

Besides the delegation from the Sanhedrin (Mat 21:23) and the disciples of the Pharisees and Herodians who confronted Jesus (Mat 22:15), who else does Matthew specifically say confronted Jesus on that same day?  See Mat 22:23.  What day was that?  See Mar 11:1-2,12,19-20,27, 12:13,18.  What distinctive doctrine does Matthew indicate parenthetically was held by the Sadducees?  See Mat 22:23[1].  How did that distinguish them from the Pharisees?  Cf. Act 23:6-8.  What does this help us understand about why following the resurrection of Jesus the Pharisees tended to be less opposed to the Christians, but the Sadducees even more so?  Cf. Act 4:1-3, 5:17-18,34, 15:5.

Of whom does Luke say the Sadducees were associates?  See Act 5:17.  What does this help us understand about from whom their name derived?  See 2Sa 8:17, 15:35, 1Ki 1:7-8,32-34, 2:35.[2] Besides their priestly heritage, what else contributed to the privileged status of the Sadducees?  See Mat 21:12 and note[3].

In addition to the law of Moses, the Pharisees as a religious sect also held as authoritative the prophets and writings that make up the canon of what we know as the Old Testament; this also put them more in tune with the spirit that moved the masses of common Jews and hence made the Pharisees more popular among the common people.  Where in the prophets and writings is the resurrection explicitly taught?  See Job 19:25-27. Psa 16:8-11, Isa 26:19, Eze 37:1-14, Dan 12:2.  On the other hand, the Sadducees were less accepting of the prophets and writings and held the law of Moses to be more authoritative.  Where in the Pentateuch is the resurrection from the dead explicitly taught?  Note: it isn’t, which is why the Sadducees felt at liberty to deny it.  What else in the Pentateuch would have fostered the Sadducees’ belief that the promises of God are temporal to this life?  See Exo 20:12, 23:25-26, Deut 7:12-15, 28:1-12, 15-68.  But do God’s temporal promises for a physical land of promise that the Sadducees focused on preclude a more eternal anti-type of those promises in a heavenly kingdom, any more than God’s eternal promises that others hoped for negate a temporal taste of those promises in this life?  What does this remind us about the need for a balanced understanding of man’s physical and spiritual nature, and God’s promises to man for this world and the next?

As opposed to the Pharisees who were more representative of the common people (cf. Act 18:3, 23:6), what about the Sadducees that we noted above would have made them less popular with the common people and inclined them more to a temporal than a heavenly view of rewards?  How does privilege in this life tend to foster such a belief, and what is its root cause?  See Deut 8:11-14, Luk 12:16-21, 16:19-21.  In what way has this happened in the world today, and especially in the United States?  In what way has this also made those who are perceived as being more privileged less popular among the common people?  What does the popularity of Barack Obama’s presidency among the masses indicate about the extent of this unfavorable attitude toward the privileged class in America?

Besides privilege and success in this life fostering a pride that tends toward a temporal view of rewards and punishments, how does pride and a temporal view of God’s promises also foster the pursuit of a life of worldly success?  Again, how have people become like that today?  Are we like that?  Might we be more heavenly minded if we were not so much in pursuit of privilege and success in this life?  Cf. Mat 16:24-26.  Might we also be more popular among the common people that Jesus appealed to?  Cf. 1Co 1:26-28.  What do all these things help us understand about how a sincere belief in the resurrection and a future life after death are diametrically opposed to worldliness in this life?  Cf. 1Jo 2:15.  What does this also indicate about the sincerity of those who say they believe in a future life, but whose present lives are marked by worldliness?  Cf. Mat 7:16a.

 


1. Because they did not believe in the resurrection, they were sad, you see!

2. This prominent Jewish sect, though not so numerous as their opponents, the Pharisees, by their wealth and the priestly descent of many of them had an influence which fully balanced that of their more popular rivals.  They were a political party, of priestly and aristocratic tendency, as against the more religious and democratic Pharisees (ISBE).

3. Annas and his sons had booths in the courts of the temple for the sale of sacrificial requisites, tables for money-changers, as ordinary coins had to be changed into the shekels of the sanctuary. From all these the priests of the high-priestly caste derived profit at the expense of desecrating the temple.  (ISBE).

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