Matthew 22:28-29 (Answering the Sadducees 4: The Faulty Reasonings of Fallen Men)

What question in light of the practice of levirate marriage did the Sadducees pose to Jesus that seemed to them to be a conundrum?  See Mat 22:28.  What conclusion had they drawn since it made no sense to them?  See Mat 22:23.  Consider that at the heart of the argument of these very liberal, temporal minded and worldly Jews was the sanctity of marriage; what does this indicate about the state of many Christian churches today that are equally liberal, temporal minded and worldly, but are so blind as to not even see the importance of marriage to their temporal well-being?  Considering that the high priests were killed and the Sadducees ceased to exist as a result of the judgment and destruction that fell upon Jerusalem and the temple, how does the future bode for their counterparts today who are less righteous and even more blind than they?

Consider the logic of the Sadducees’ argument: they supposed that if there was a resurrection it must be to a state similar to our present one where men marry and are given in marriage, and since that didn’t make sense to them in light of the practice of levirate marriage given in the law, they concluded, incorrectly, that there must not be a resurrection.  At what point did their logic fail?  I.e., what faulty premise had they made that caused their conclusion to not follow as they supposed?  See Luk 20:34-35.  What does their error remind us about the trap of faulty reasoning that even intelligent men are prone to fall into because in pride they cannot see any other possibility?  Should we be surprised that even the brightest of worldly men fail in such ways to understand spiritual truth?  Cf. 1Co 2:14.  Significantly, the Sadducees’ argument was a reaction to the belief of the Pharisees, who although they believed in the resurrection, understood it carnally in terms of sensual pleasures; how is that like Mormons, Muslims, and even many Christians today?[1] Is it possible that as the Pharisees promoted their faulty understanding of the resurrection and so caused the Sadducees to deny it entirely, by promoting our own faulty understanding of true doctrines we may likewise cause others to deny them entirely?  Is it also possible that there are true doctrines we deny because of others’ faulty understandings that they have promoted? In what way have these things happened under the umbrella of Christianity in regard to the gifts of the Spirit?  The “rapture”?  Election?  God’s sovereignty and man’s free will?  Or even salvation by grace?  What do these things teach us about the importance of sound doctrine?  What do they teach us about humility as we promote even what we suppose is sound doctrine?

What was the first thing Jesus said in response to the Sadducees’ conundrum they posed to Him?  See Mat 22:29.  Was it the case that they had simply erred (KJV) about the resurrection from the dead as if it was just an innocent mistake?  Note that the Greek word used is planao, from which we get our word planet, meaning a star that wanders from a fixed course and so will deceive those who would use it as a reference to guide them.  The word is most often translated deceived and connotes a greater moral culpability than simply being mistaken; see 1Co 6:9, 15:33, Gal 6:7, Jam 1:6 for the same word.  Hence Jesus’ words could also be translated “you are deceived”, as we find in the NET.  Besides being just deceived in regard to the resurrection, in light of the eternal consequences of their mistake what does Mark add that Jesus emphasized to the Sadducees about their error?  See Mar 12:27.  What does this remind us about the great many today who suppose that this life is all there is and that after death one ceases to exist: are they just mistaken?  Is it surprising that now as then it is those who are the most educated and successful who hold such views?  See Mat 11:25, 1Co 1:27-28; cf. Isa 5:21, 29:9-14,18-19, Mat 13:11-16, Joh 9:39, 12:38-40.  What advice does God give through Paul to the elites of this age who suppose that because the world’s wisdom has made them successful in this temporal world that it must be a good reference for their eternal souls and will not deceive them?  See 1Co 3:18-20.  Why is such success in this world not a good indicator of more lasting, eternal success?  See Luk 4:5-6.

 


1. Nothing gives greater advantage to atheism and infidelity than the carnality of those that make religion, either in its professions or in its prospects, a servant to their sensual appetites and secular interests; while those that are erroneous deny the truth, those that are superstitious betray it to them.  Matthew Henry.

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