Mark 12:18-27 The Scriptures And The Power Of God.

Mark 12:18-27 The Scriptures And The Power Of God.

From the time Jesus’ authority was questioned, and the apostate religious leadership challenged him on it, said authorities took their turns in seeking to test him (v. 18 Cf. 11:27-33; 12:13). It is important to keep in mind that none of these encounters was a genuine pursuit of truth, but only to see how they might find something on which they could falsely claim that Jesus was in violation of both religious and civil law. The Sadduccees, who did not believe in the resurrection, like many apostates today, raised an example which was meant to mock anyone who would believe such a thing. Since they knew the law, they knew that it was incumbent upon a man to marry his brother’s wife if he died without children (v. 19; Dt. 25:5; Lk. 20:27-38; Acts 23:8), they pose the hypothetical issue of a woman who had several husbands but no children at her death (vv. 20-23). Since they also knew that the creation ideal was one man and one woman, they thought that they were putting Jesus in a bind (Gen. 2:24).

Jesus’ answer to the Sadduccees is very revealing, not just for the situation that they raised, but for our understanding of the biblical faith as a whole. “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Are you not mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?’” (v. 24) The first point here would surely have disturbed them greatly, because it was the very issue of the authority of the Scriptures and what they taught that for them was in question with Jesus, and all those who believed in the resurrection of the dead. The many encounters with angels in the old testament testified to the presence of many beings in the heavenly realms, but never is there an indication that they procreate (v. 25 Cf. I Cor. 15:42, 49, 52). So the question about human participation in this afterlife is really one of whether resurrection is spoken of and made possible. Of course, anyone familiar with the Scriptures would know that Enoch did not die, but rather was taken to be with the Lord (Gen. 5:24).

If there was no life after death, it would hardly be a reward for God to have taken Enoch when he did. So the scriptural knowledge possessed by the Sadduccees was more than wanting. As Jesus pointed out, God is “not the God of the dead but the God of the living” (v. 26; Ex. 3:6, 15 Cf. Rev. 20:12-13). Among the great ‘I am’ statements there is this double affirmation – that God is eternal, the ‘I am’ not just the ‘I was’ or ‘I will be’. There is no beginning with God, and no end. However, with man there is a beginning, from the Creator. However, those who are in faithful covenant with him will live with him forever. However, there is the equally important point concerning the power of God. For the Sadducees, and the other apostates, religion was man-centred. They did not see the need for, nor acknowledge the presence of, the truth that the power of God was necessary for anyone to be in a right relationship with him. The gospel is the necessary power of God for salvation to all who believe, of which the resurrection is but one outcome (Rom. 1:16-17).

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