THE LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last two lessons, we saw Jesus questioned about His authority, but He asked a question about the baptism John preached, but they refused to answer it, so He did not answer their question. Well, at least not directly, but He did speak three parables against these opposing Jews. As usually, they were a little slow at perceiving that He was talking about them, but they always figured out in the end.
In this lesson, we are going to pick up where we left off. What happens next is recorded in Matthew 22, Mark 12, and Luke 20. As I have done in the past, I will blend these accounts together as they each provide certain details that the other do not. Notice what Luke says:
Luke 20:19 †And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people -- for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.
Matthew 22:15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.†
When you combine these two, you see that we have the chief priest, Pharisees and scribes who were plotting on how they can entangle Jesus in His talk.
The word entrap means:
1) to ensnare, entrap 1a) of birds 2) metaph. of the attempt to elicit from one some remark which can be turned into an accusation against him (Stongs).
These opposing Jews are members of the Sanhedrin council, which was had 70 members and 1 president. They were composed of Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes. As, we just read, they wanted to catch Jesus in His words, so they might be able to take Him down, but they had tried this many times in many ways and failed, but they were persistent so this is what they decided to do.
Luke 20:20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.†
Mark 12:13Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words.† ††
These verses make the intent of these men crystal clear. No matter what questions they ask or what they say to Jesus, we can know that their only motive is to trap Jesus. Jesus is the great at bringing people together. For example, He brought together a tax collector and zealot who work together as apostles, but He also brought together those who opposed Him, even though they are naturally enemies. We see this in our text as well because normally Pharisees and Herodians would have nothing to do with each other, but they had same goal in mind, which was to trap Jesus, so they worked together.†
Now letís see what their plan of attack is:
Luke 20:21 Then they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:† 22 "Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
What flattery. I guess they thought if they played into Jesusí ego with all these swelling words that it would catch Him off guard. Notice, they said He taught what was right and did not change His teaching based on personal favoritism, but always taught the truth according to the way of God. Then they ask this loaded question about if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not.
If Jesus said, yes, then then they could get people to turn on Him because many Jews despised having to pay taxes to the Romans because they felt like their only King was God and He should receive tribute. However, if Jesus said, no, then they could report this to the Roman officials and have Him arrested by them.
While this seemed like an impossible question to answer, letís see how Jesus handles it.
Lk. 20:23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, "Why do you test Me?† 24 "Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?" They answered and said, "Caesar's."† 25 And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."† 26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.†
Mt. 22:22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.†
Matthewís account says Jesus perceived their wickedness and called them hypocrites. Their words of flattery did not fool Him, and He answered their question in way they never dreamed of because He showed that is right was Caesar to collect his taxes and that same time that they should give to God what belongs to Him.
As Stancliff wrote:
Caesarís governments had the right to require men to pay taxes. But Caesar did not have the right to make spiritual laws. They were two different kinds of government. There was civil government and there was spiritual government. Men had a responsibility to be subject to each of them as long as civil government did not defy spiritual government. (Good message Bible commentary)
So, Jesusí answer causes these opposing Jews to marvel and it leaves them speechless. Matthew tells us they went their way. Now that these Herodians had failed, some Sadducees try to see if they can trap Jesus. Their attempt is recorded in these same three accounts, but they are almost identical, so I will just use Lukeís account.
Luke 20:27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,† 28 saying: "Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.† 29 "Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children.† 30 "And the second took her as wife, and he died childless.† 31 "Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died.† 32 "Last of all the woman died also.† 33 "Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife."†
The Sadducees were rich and powerful men, who did believe in the resurrection, the immortality of the soul, or in angels. They were materialistic and they did not follow the oral law that had been made by the Pharisees. Perhaps this argument about the resurrection was one they had used successfully against the Pharisees, so now they are going to try it out on Jesus.
They could have easily used two brothers in their example, but apparently they thought using seven brothers would make their case stronger. Their argument comes from what Moses wrote in:
Deuteronomy 25:5 " If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband's brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her.† 6 "And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.† 7 "But if the man does not want to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.'† 8 "Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, 'I do not want to take her,'† 9 "then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, 'So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother's house.'† 10 "And his name shall be called in Israel, 'The house of him who had his sandal removed.'
Regarding what the Sadducees asked. H. Leo Boles wrote:
The case that they citied required a brother to take his deceased brotherís wife and raise a son unto his brother that his brotherís name might not perish in the genealogy. The Sadducees thought to show from the law the manifest absurdity of the doctrine of the resurrection, because they presumed that the present relations of life must continue in the future state.
I can almost see the smirk on their faces because they thought Jesus would not be able to answer this exaggerated example they had given. However, Jesus is about to wipe any smirk they may have had right off their faces.
Mark 12:24 Jesus answered and said to them, "Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?†
Before we read any further, I want you to think about how much this would have stung because Jesus is telling them, you donít know what you are talking about because you do know the Scripture and you do not now the power of God. Jesus is about to show these Sadducees that they are wrong about there being no resurrection and no angels.
Mark 12:25 "For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.† 26 "But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?† 27 "He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken."†
Jesus teaches them that marriage does not continue in heaven because we become like angels. Please pay attention, Jesus said we will be like angels not become angels. There is no death in heaven. So, not only does this answer their initial question about who this woman would be married to in heaven, which is none of them, it shows that there is a resurrection and that there are angels.
Jesus makes a strong argument based on what the Angel of the Lord spoke from the burning bush about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He said, ďI am the God ofĒ in present tense even though these three were dead physically. So, this shows that there is life after physical death because God could not be their God presently if they were not still alive in some way. Of course, there are many other verses that show that we will be resurrected in that day when Jesus comes again. Such as:
John 5:28 "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice† 29 "and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
At this point, I want to give you argument against those who teach the A.D. 70 doctrine. Now some of you may have no idea what this group teaches, but in nutshell, they teach that all Biblical prophecy including the resurrection happened by or at A.D. 70.
So, the A.D. 70 doctrine teaches that the resurrection happened at the destruction of Jerusalem and it denies a bodily resurrection.
Now some of you might wonder how in the world anyone could believe such a thing, but there are some who do. I will tie in what Jesus said about our resurrection in just a minute, but first I want to examine Jesusí resurrection. Apparently, some in the Corinthian church were denying that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Paul set out to correct them in 1 Corinthians 15. He pointed out how over 500 people had witnessed Christís bodily resurrection (vs. 4-8).
Paul goes on to say that Christ, who was raised from the dead, is the first fruits and when He comes again, those who belong to Him will be raised from the dead as well as can be seen in:
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.† 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.† 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.† 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
Since Jesus is the first fruits, and His resurrection was a bodily one, this would indicate that our resurrection is to be a bodily one as well. The only way the A.D. 70 doctrine could be true is if Jesusí resurrection was not a bodily one. If that is the case, I would like to know what happened to His physical body. Did it just disappear or did someone remove it? It seems clear to me that A.D. 70 doctrine is wrong.
We learn from Paul that at the resurrection we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and we will be given an incorruptible body (1 Cor. 15:50-54). Paul also tells us that a Christianís citizenship is in heaven and how that he was eagerly waiting for Jesusí return so that Jesus would transform his and every Christianís lowly body and conform them to His glorious body (Phil. 3:20-21).
John agrees with this when he says, ďwhen Christ is revealed, we shall be like Him and see Him as He isĒ (1 Jn. 3:2).
Have these things already happened as the A.D. 70 doctrine teaches? If they have, I personally am not impressed with this new glorious body that is supposed to be immortal and incorruptible. Obviously, the resurrection has not happened yet.
As we read in our text earlier, the Sadducees were trying to trap Jesus in a question about the resurrection. Jesus responded to them by saying this in Lukeís account:
Luke 20:34 And Jesus answered and said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.† 35 "But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;† 36 "nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Jesusí words are a deathblow to the A.D. 70 doctrine because at the resurrection we will not marry or be given in marriage, we cannot die anymore, and we are equal with angels. It is pretty obvious that we are still marrying, and we are still dying. Now if the A.D. 70 advocates try to make dying a spiritual concept, then this means we cannot sin, because sin is what causes spiritual death (Rom. 6:23). If they try to apply the resurrection to the church, then guess what that means? It means that church was dead until A.D. 70. So, are you ready to accept such a notion? I would hope not and I hope you are able to see why the resurrection Jesus spoke of is still in future and did not happen in A.D. 70.
From this point, Mark gives us more details of what happened next so I will us his account now. After the Sadducees failed, Matthew tells us that the Pharisees gathered together, but a lawyer or as Mark says a scribe, comes up to Jesus as we read in:
Mark 12:28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?"† 29 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.† 30 'And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.† 31 "And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."† 32 So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.† 33 "And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Scribes copied the law and they were considered experts of what the law said. According to the Talmud, there were 613 laws. So to ask which one was the greatest could certainly seem to be difficult task, but this posed no problem for Jesus. First, He quoted from Deut. 6:4-5, which it to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, which covers our duty to God.
But Jesus didnít stop there because He gave the second greatest command, which is to love your neighbor as yourself, which point out manís duty to man. The scribe seems to be very happy with Jesusí answer and he even praises Him for His answer because he knew that it was the right answer. Next, Jesus says:
Mark 12:34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that no one dared question Him.†
Even though these men came with the intent to trap Jesus in His words, we can see that at least this one scribe was making a connection with Jesus. Yes, he thought his question might trip Jesus up, but this man was honest enough to admit that Jesus had spoken the truth and then he repeats what Jesus says in own words, Jesus considered his words as being wise. He even tells him that he is not far from the kingdom. In other words, if we continue having such wisdom about Godís Word, it will lead down the right path toward the kingdom.
Personally, I love moments like these when you are studying with someone who is holding on to a false doctrine and then you find that one thing where they begin to see the truth, and you know that maybe, just maybe, they might be able to start seeing the whole truth soon.
After Jesus silenced them all, they were apparently out of ideas on how to trap Him in His words because our text tells us that no one dared questioned Him after that. However, Jesus makes another statement, which will bring our lesson to a close.
Mark 12:35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?† 36 "For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." '† 37 "Therefore David himself calls Him 'Lord'; how is He then his Son?" And the common people heard Him gladly. †
Jesus asked a question about what the scribes had been teaching about the Messiah just being a son of David. However, Jesus quotes Psalm 110:1 and asks the question, why would David call the Messiah Lord if he was just his son? When David referred to Him as Lord, He was showing that he himself was under His power. He was showing the Christ would be much more than just a mere son of David, He was Deity. Had He just been a created son like all other sons, then David would have never called Him Lord.
A couple more things I want to point out about this is that we see all three members of the Godhead represented. First, we have the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said David spoke by. Second, you have the Father, who is the first Lord, and then, the second Lord who would sit at the Fatherís right hand is Jesus. Here, we have a clear distinction of all three members of the Godhead. This is just one of many places that you can use to teach certain religious groups that there are 3 distinct individuals who make up the Godhead, and it also shows that Jesus was not just some created being that came into existence in the first century because He is Deity and He has always existed.
I hope you learned some valuable lessons from what Jesus taught in the verses we examined, and I hope you might be able to use some of things I taught you to teach others who are confused about who Jesus is. Next time, we will be taking a close look at Matthew 23.