Now, The Sermon for today is from Luke:20:27-47. As we begin, our Lord Jesus is being questioned and tested by a religious group of wealthy aristocrats called the Sadducees, who were accompanied by the Scribes, who were interpreters of the Jewish Law. They wanted to catch Him in a discrepancy of belief called “resurrection from the dead”…they did not believe in the resurrection because it was not taught in the Jewish Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible), and so they thought they would be crafty and expose our Lord in a blasphemous lie…as we see in verse 28
- Luke 20:28 and they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that IF A MAN’S BROTHER DIES, HAVING A WIFE, AND HE IS CHILDLESS, HIS BROTHER SHOULD MARRY THE WIFE AND RAISE UP THE CHILDREN TO HIS BROTHER.”
The Sadducees here are using a hypothetical question based on the Jewish Law written in Deuteronomy 25:5-6…which says:
- When brothers dwell together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not become the wife of a ⌊man of another family⌋; her brother-in-law ⌊shall have sex with her⌋, and he shall take her ⌊to himself⌋ as a wife, and he shall perform his duty as a brother-in-law with respect to her. 6 And then the firstborn that she bears ⌊shall represent his dead brother⌋, so that his name is not blotted out from Israel.
This was the basis of the custom called “Levirate Marriage”, and as we see here, it provided a way for the perpetuation of purity in Israelite bloodlines… which showed its prevalence throughout scripture in the written tracks of their genealogies.Now, of course, the Sadducees thought that they would propose this out of place question…and catch Jesus in an indefensible situation, which would prove their belief, that there was no such thing as resurrection…and by their so doing, they hoped it would discredit Our Lord in front of the public that had gathered around to hear what was being said. So, they continued in their line of questioning in verses 29-32…where they mention that there was a family of seven brothers…and that the first brother had taken a wife but had no children from his marriage…then when he had died, his next brother married the wife, but he too had no children from the marriage when he died…then the third brother married the wife, and he died without having children as well…And finally, after all seven brothers had died after taking the woman for their wife and having no children amongst them…the woman died as well! Hence, they conclude their hypothetical probing with verse 33… “In the resurrection therefore, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had married her.”
My Friends, can you see the absolute absurdity in their questioning? Now the word “resurrection” derives from the Greek word resurrectio, meaning to “rise again”…and much is said in scripture about resurrection…so let’s take a look at a few of them, shall we…for instance: In Daniel 12:2…many from thosesleeping ⌊in the dusty ground⌋ will awake, some to ⌊everlasting life⌋ and some to disgrace and ⌊everlasting contempt⌋.
And in I Thessalonians 4:14…For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, thus also God will bring those who have fallen asleep through Jesus together with him. These particular verses tell us of a time when some of us, the believers in Christ, will be raised from the dead and will have everlasting life in heaven with Jesus…and those others who are not believers, will suffer everlasting punishment in hell. In the next referenced verses, we see that the resurrected body will be different, when we are raised-up and transformed.
1 Corinthians 15:51 & 52…Behold, I tell you a mystery: we will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. And then here, in Romans 6:5…For if we have become identified with himin the likeness of his death, certainly also we will be identified with him in the likeness of his resurrection,
Brothers and Sisters, these are but a simple few of the scriptures that relate to the belief in resurrection; there are many many more…but the Sadducees, who had been questioning Jesus, were unconvinced of this belief, and had persisted in their attempt to have Jesus disgraced and punished. However, Jesus knew what they were trying to do…So in the next few verses He begins to answer them this way… Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and resurrected from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
In verse 34, in His reference to the sons of this age, He is speaking of the present time before final judgement. Then, in verses 35 & 36, He makes a reference to that age, the time following final judgement…when the Kingdom of God has been established, and those who are worthy, will be resurrected and made immortal…and in that age to come, there will be no need for an earthly marriage. Jesus now continues with His answer to the Sadducees this way in verses 37 & 38… “But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB. Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.”
Here, in these two verses, Jesus is pointing-out the Sadducees’ flawed understanding of resurrection…He states that our Father in heaven is the God of the living…and although Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are dead, they are resurrected and dwelling in heaven with God. You see, Jesus is using Exodus 3:6…to invalidate the questioning by the Sadducees…where even God, Himself, speaking to Moses, describes His relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the present tense, like this…And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face because he was afraid of looking at God. Then, when the Sadducees realized they could go no further with their analytical probing…because Jesus had exposed the trap they were laying for Him…they said to Him in verses 39 & 40… Some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well. For they did not have courage to question Him any longer about anything. Now that Jesus had them backed into a corner, He continued with questions of His own…as in verses 41 to 44…Then He said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the book of Psalms, `THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.’ Therefore David calls Him Lord, and how is he His son?”
In Matthew 22:42…Jesus says it like this…saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “David’s.” So, although Jesus is considered a descendant of David, and the Davidic Messiah…We know that He is most certainly not David’s son…In fact, in these verses, He was actually speaking of Himself as He references Psalm 110:1…where David, the Psalm’s author, is saying that his LORD, “GOD”, is speaking to our Lord “Jesus”, telling Him to sit at His right hand…so it would be completely absurd for someone to even think that our Lord Jesus could be the “son” of David…but this is exactly what the scribes said, isn’t it? Now, as verse 42 speaks of being at the right hand of God…let’s continue and take a look at what some other supporting scriptures say about this…such as in Acts 2:32 & 33…“This Jesus God raised up again, of which we all are witnesses,Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” And again, look at Acts 7:55 & 56…where Stephen was being stoned to death…But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
It was by the death of Jesus, that our sin and death were conquered… and we were made new by His resurrection…And then, upon His “Ascension”…His place is now, at the right hand of the Father! Friends, it is evident, in scripture after scripture, that Jesus is the Son of God and is God, not the son of David…and He is the Savior and Redeemer of all those who believe in Him and repent of their sins.My Friends, we know, as believers, that Jesus was resurrected from the dead after suffering and dying upon the cross for our salvation…And it is in this belief of ours that we are justified in our faith.So, as we resume, with Luke chapter 20…the Scribes, who are often associated with the Pharisees and chief priests, did not have the nerve to continue their ridicule and false line of questioning in public…But it was now their turn to be scoffed-at by the crowd…as our Lord Jesus openly points-out their heart by how they act…see what He says in these next three verses 45, 46, & 47… And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples, Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets,who devour widow’s houses, and for appearance sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” As you can see, Jesus speaks-out for all to hear! Even though He is directing His warning to the disciples, He is not just whispering to them…He is speaking loud enough for everyone, especially the scribes, to hear exactly what He is saying! He rebukes the scribes, and condemns them for their actions of pretense, and dark-hearted conduct. See what scripture says in Matthew’s depiction in chapter 23 verse 5…And they do all their deeds in order to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries broad and make their tassels long. The word “phylacteries” used here in this verse most likely refers to the small boxes containing Scriptural passages that Jews wore on their foreheads or arms…The scribes and Pharisees apparently enlarged these boxes and made the tassels long on their robes to make themselves more visible…the tassels on their outer robe or prayer shawl were there as a reminder to follow the commandments…and the longer the tassels were, the more pious and devoted the wearer supposedly was…they were all about show and not about substance!Now, there was deep and Godly meaning to these items they wore…born from the days of Moses, and from the very mouth of God.
For example, see what Yahweh says to Moses about the phylacteries in Exodus 13:9…And it will be as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes so that the law of Yahweh will be in your mouth, that with a strong hand Yahweh brought you out from Egypt. And again, see what Yahweh says to Moses about instructing the Israelites on the wearing of tassels, in Numbers 15:39…You will have a tassel ⌊for you to look at⌋ and remember all the commands of Yahweh and do them, and not follow ⌊after the unfaithfulness of your own heart and eyes⌋,
So, Jesus rebuked the scribes because they were studiers and interpreters of the Jewish Mosaic Law and knew what they were supposed to do…and yet, here they were doing exactly what they were commanded not to do…they were breaking with the word of God and His commandments because of the unfaithfulness of their heart and eyes.The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes were hypocrites and liked to put on a show for the public…they dearly liked to be noticed and treated with high admiration for their station in life…just as Jesus had said in verse 46…Now, Matthew’s telling of this is much longer, as in 23:1-36, where Jesus berates and condemns the Pharisees and Scribes…and calls them “blind guides” and “serpents”…and pronounces 7 woes upon them…For example, let’s take a look at a couple of these verses 27 & 28, where Jesus says to them…“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean! In the same way, on the outside you also appear righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Friends, these verses tell us, that as Christian believers, we are not to appear pious and devout on the outside…and filled with sin and corruption on the inside…”We are not to simply dress in nice robes with long tassels”…And woe to us if we do, for we will be held severely accountable on judgement day.As members of Christ’s church, we are not to take advantage of the helpless, as Jesus points-out about the “devouring of widow’s houses”…we are to love one another, be truthful to one another, and help one another…We are to exhibit our Christian faith with a full heart…and we are to do this daily…not just on Sunday when we attend Church service. Listen now to what scripture says in Ephesians 1:3 & 4…Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love.
Now, in closing, let me just say, that I encourage each and every one of you to consider where you are in your own walk of faith with the Lord…if there are areas in your spiritual life that you feel you need to work-on, then start praying more, and sincerely focusing on improving those particular areas…If you are burdened and bearing the guilt of sin, past or present…or if you are not sure of the path you are on, or the direction you are going…please remember that you are not alone…God is with you…and so are we…for we are a Church family!And lastly…Brothers and Sisters…I ask each of you to pray and to “wear your faith”…pray often and wear your faith with love in your heart…love for God…and love for all Others.
Let us pray…