Mark 12:18-27 (ESV)

18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 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. 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.” 24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 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’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

Having passed the last test, Jesus was presented with another question from his opponents. The Sadducees came to him with what they believed to be a problem concerning the resurrection. They were convinced that the soul no longer exists after death. In contrast, most Jews at the time of Jesus, including the Pharisees, believed in the afterlife. The Sadducees asked Jesus about the practice known as Levirate Marriage. According to this Old Testament principle, if a man died and his wife remained childless, the man’s brother was obligated to marry the widow to keep the land and property in the family, thereby protecting the inheritance of the deceased. The Sadducees asked Jesus to suppose a woman’s husband died and her brother-in-law married her. Then, what if the brother-in-law or the new husband died, and another brother married her? What if this happened so many times that she married all seven of the family brothers? Which one would be her husband when she died and went to heaven? Ha! They thought their proposed problem was brilliant. Clearly, their proposed dilemma disproved the resurrection. Jesus responded by saying to them, “First, you don’t know your Bible,” and “Second, you don’t know the power of God. Just as the angels aren’t married in heaven, she won’t be married either, and to top that off, God does raise the dead!”

But could Jesus prove that the dead will rise again? God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Jesus reminded the Sadducees that God confirmed to Moses that the prophets were still alive, even after their deaths, by using “I am” instead of “I was.” Jesus told the Sadducees they were wrong about the Scripture, which would have been a huge blow to them, since they were considered the experts in the Law of God. If anyone believed in the resurrection, it was Jesus. He not only taught the resurrection, but he was the resurrection. The Sadducees didn’t understand God’s power. Every now and then we can’t fathom how God will work out the details of a certain dilemma we are faced with. But let’s not undermine the power of God because of our own inability to grasp how he will sort things out. Our job is to keep searching the Scripture and trusting God’s ability to work out the details of his plan and program.