Matthew 22:29 (Answering the Sadducees 5: Not Knowing the Power of God)

For what reason did Jesus say that the Sadducees were so greatly deceived in regard to their misperceptions about the resurrection?  See Mat 22:29, Mar 12:24.  Was it the case that these religious elites of priestly descent were not very well educated either in what Moses taught that they held as most authoritative, or in what was taught in the prophets and writings that their opponents also held as authoritative?  Would they have supposed themselves to not know or understand the Scriptures?  What does this remind us about the difference between head-knowledge and heart-knowledge, between understanding something intellectually and understanding it spiritually?  Cf. Mat 13:14-15, Joh 5:39-40.  Although having an intellectual understanding of the Scriptures is important and necessary for the continuing work of salvation God performs in and through us, is it sufficient?  Besides intellectual knowledge, what does the example of the Sadducees teach us is also necessary?  Cf. Eph 1:18, Col 1:9.  Should we ever suppose that the knowledge of the truth that leads to true salvation is something that can be acquired intellectually?  Cf. 2Ti 3:7.  How then is it acquired?  See again Col 1:9 as well as 2Ti 2:25, Psa 111:10, Eze 18:30-32, Rom 2:4-5.

What did Jesus mean that the Sadducees did not understand the power of God?  In a theoretical sense, is anything, even raising a person from the dead, too difficult for God?  See Luk 1:37, Act 26:8.  In what ways do many today err greatly even in this theoretical sense because of their small view of God and His power?  Think: is God just a super-man as conceived of by the Greeks and Romans, like us only greater?  Is He just the “light” side of an equally powerful “dark” force who might potentially be overcome or overthrown by Satan?  Is He just a puppeteer who ultimately pulls man’s strings to determine who will and will not be saved because He is not so all powerful as to give men the free will to do as they please and still accomplish His own purposes?

Should we suppose it was in this theoretical sense that the Sadducees didn’t believe God was all-powerful and could raise the dead?  See Gen 18:14, Jer 32:17.  But again, what was their false conception of the resurrection as illustrated by the conundrum they posed to Jesus?  Is God only so powerful as to raise men up to their previous state of existence, or is it also within His power to raise them to a different, even more exalted state that they cannot comprehend, where such puzzles that seem to have no solution here are easily resolved?  Cf. 1Co 2:9, 15:35-44 and think: how different is a butterfly from the worm from which it was transformed?  What does this help us to understand about why having the faith of a child is more important for understanding spiritual truth than all the intellectual wisdom of men?  Cf. 1Co 1:26-2:14, the context of the above verse.

Consider again: Although the Sadducees denied the resurrection because they couldn’t understand it looking through their distorted theological glasses, still it was plainly taught in the prophets and writings of the Jewish Scriptures as the natural inference of what God had revealed through Moses in the Pentateuch; see again Gen 2:9, 3:20-22, 5:24, 50:24-25, Heb 11:17-19,22 and Job 19:25-27. Psa 16:8-11, Isa 26:19, Eze 37:1-14, Dan 12:2.  Was God’s power to raise the dead in any way constrained because the resurrection made no sense to them in light of their mistaken notions and worldview?  Consider too how the privileged status and worldly wisdom of the Sadducees distorted their worldview so that they were greatly deceived to reject the resurrection because it didn’t fit the reasonings of their theology; what does this teach us about the great danger of worldliness, being led by our intellect and trusting men’s theology, as opposed to the importance of accepting in simple faith the things God has spoken plainly about even if we don’t fully understand them?  Should we ever suppose that God’s power to accomplish anything about which He has spoken is limited because we can’t in our wildest imagination see or understand how it could come to pass?  Is the limiting factor of anything about which God has spoken His power, or our understanding—or perhaps better, our misunderstanding?

What is the great significance that it was in denying the resurrection that the Sadducees did not understand the power of God?  See 1Co 1:18,22-24 and think: through what is God’s power made perfect?  See 2Co 12:9.  What is the epitome of man’s weakness, and by what means is that greatest weakness overcome?  See 1Co 15:26,53-57, 2Co 13:4.  Is this not the very gospel of our salvation that is foolishness to those like the Sadducees who are perishing because they love this world and trust in their own wisdom?  Cf. Rom 1:4,16, Phi 3:21.  What insight does this give us into 2Ti 1:8?  Into 1Pe 1:5-6?  Think: is it by seeking to preserve our lives that we shall save them, or is it by being willing to suffer affliction with Christ even unto death that the mighty power of God is most manifest by raising us up from the dead to reign with Him?  See Mat 16:24-25, Joh 12:24-25.  What do these things help us understand about the manner in which the Sadducees did not understand the power of God?  Was it the case that they would deny His omnipotence and say He wasn’t all-powerful, or was it more the case that their distorted worldview limited their understanding of His power and prevented them from perceiving its nature and how it is most manifest?  How are many today who say they follow Christ are like them?

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