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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Prop. 27C - Lk 20:27-38- Thoughts and Meditation

The Battle Tested Argument Winner

To really appreciate the significance of this passage, I think the context of the passage is vital. Jesus is shaking the hornet's nest. Not for the sake of creating a fatalistic turn of events, but because He has come to expose and judge the incumbent rulers of the day.

Jesus had finally arrived at the epicenter of the Jewish world. We have just finished reading how Jesus had driven out the corrupt marketeers from the temple. This story preludes the confrontation that follows in the passage of this week, but also the ultimate confrontation which leads to Jesus execution. A quick summary: significantly the first group to confront Jesus includes representatives of all the factions: Chief priests, teachers of the law, and the elders. Then Jesus hands out his sentence on them all with a damning parable. The pharisees then have their turn to confront Jesus with their specific issue, and then the Sadducees have their turn.

The Pharisees were exposed as hypocrites. They possessed the idolatrous denarius (because it carried an image of Caesar).

The Sadducees come to Jesus with a question which superficially appears to be flippant, one commentator notes...

There are questions that ought not to be asked except by those who are famished for an answer. When some Sadducees ask Jesus about the resurrection, they are not really hungry for an answer. They've gone to Jesus for a little theological Ping-Pong.
I believe that is a simplistic view of the text. This question is at the heart of the Sadducees theology. In coming to Jesus, they test him, as they have every other teacher that comes to the city. "What do you think of the resurrection?" The story of the seven brothers is a well worn hook used to get someone into a hot debate, after all debating is what they held dear. The story is even abbreviated: "The second and the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children." The specifics of their hypothetical are known, their is no need to repeat them. This is no idle question, it is THE question they put, when they want a verbal and mental fight. Why? The Sadducees are so sure that their is no argument THAT CAN be put against their theological stance. The Torah in their minds does not contain a scrap of evidence that there is a resurrection, therefore they can be cavalier in their approach to Jesus.

What they do not understand is that they have asked the King of the universe, and King of their very souls, what He thinks about the resurrection. That fact that Jesus is able to repudiate their assumption, and present the ultimate truth, is only the beginning. Jesus also places a judgmental turn of phrase into His answer: "But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age..." Jesus presents the Sadducees, who until now have not really entertained the idea of an afterlife, with the prospect that there is also an absolute (not relative like the way they were fond of thinking) reckoning of souls.

The Sadducees are defeated. The best arrow in their quiver had been broken, and their was nothing else they could bring up which could save face, or save themselves.

This is a story of God confronting humans in their failure. Maybe it is a picture of what judgment day could be like. The Sadducees stood up before Jesus, and Jesus showed them where they went wrong in irrefutable terms.

In a fallen world where all of us are impossibly able to meet up to the standards required of God, what will our response be to when Jesus shows us in no uncertain terms where we have gone wrong. Will we be like the Sadducees and refuse to break our own will, or will we admit we were wrong and fall on the grace that God offers us (like Zaccheus in last weeks text, and the widow in Luke 21:1-4. It is the essence of faith.

1. Structural Diagram
2. Surrounding Context
3. Key Cross References
4. Key Questions
5. Thoughts and Meditation

the king of the Hill

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