Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mark 12:18–27

Mark 12:18–27 (ESV): The Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection


I wrote about the parallel passage for this in Matthew 22:23–33, and there’s not much to add over what I said there. The Sadducees come to Jesus with what they believe is a gotcha question, trying to make him look foolish for believing in the resurrection, and Jesus doesn’t even bother to engage in the discussion with them—he just tells them a number of times that they’re wrong. They’re wrong because they know “neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (verse 24 (ESV)), they’re wrong because they misunderstand what the resurrection will be like (verse 25 (ESV)), and they’re wrong for not believing in the resurrection in the first place (verses 26–27 (ESV)). They are, overall, “quite wrong” (verse 27 (ESV)).


It’s fun to see Jesus going after the Sadducees in this way; he doesn’t just dispute them, he shuts them down. In North America we like clean, crisp answers, and Jesus’ response to the Sadducees leaves no room for interpretation, no wiggle room: Yes, there is a resurrection, and you’re “wrong” for not believing so. Period. Done.

We should recognize, however, as Christians, that there are very few conversations we enter into with non-believers that should go this route. When we enter into a conversation with non-believers it’s rare that our approach should be to shut them down the way that Jesus shuts down the Sadducees in this passage; almost always our approach should be one of having a dialogue, understanding where they’re coming from, the intent being not to prove them wrong (or make them shut up) but to show them the truth of the Gospel. It’s very true that they will probably have to give up some of their incorrect beliefs in order to see the truth of the Gospel, but our intent is only to get past that so they can absorb the truth. By all means disagree with people when you need to because they will believe things that aren’t correct, but then move past that as quickly as possible to get to the heart of the issue, don’t dwell on it.

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