Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!” Mark 12:18-27
I am going to focus on one part of this story about Jesus being confronted by the Sadducees:
“Are you not in error because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God?”
It’s sobering to think about. Like the Sadducees, a person can be absolutely devoted to religion, and still not know the power of God.
Because the Sadducees were the fundamentalists of their time. They only did what was in the Scriptures, the Torah. They were often priests. Their whole lives were about living for God.
Yet Jesus said they did not know the power of God.
How is this possible? How could they miss it?
Maybe because they had their eyes on their obedience so much that this is all they could see.
It’s easy to do this. I can relate. I can get so caught up in making sure I’m doing the right things, that I’m blind to the fact that the focus has become me and my efforts, instead of God.
I don’t want to miss the power of God.
Because the truth is, He’s working all around us. He’s working in people’s lives. His working among the nations. He’s working His will.
He is working miracles.
But do we see them?
I mean, look at the Sadducees. They had the very son of God in their midst, healing the sick, yet they were blind to that.
Are we blind too?
Last week at House Church we each listed an impossible thing that we would like to see God do. Of course, as we discussed each of these things, it did seem like there was no way that any of them could come to pass.
But then we remembered that each one of us is an example of God doing the impossible. There is no way we would have given up our destructive habits and come to faith without God.
Mike drank too much, and was ruining his marriage. Yet here he is now, a Godly man that many of us look up to.
Lorena was an atheist, yet now she leads the campus women.
I was stuck in insecurity, in selfish, prideful, lonely misery. Yet now my life and my heart are full to overflowing.
The power of God is all around us. See it. He IS doing miracles.
And the greatest example of this lately is my son, Max.
Max got engaged this past weekend.
And somehow, the picture that pops up in my head is Max in fifth grade, complaining and resisting every attempt to do his homework, saying he couldn’t do it. Every day after school was an ordeal. It was like trying to hold onto a leprechaun.
Throughout his life at home with us, we did everything we could just to motivate Max to make decent grades — and I’m not talking A’s, I’m talking B’s and C’s. I joke about it, but it’s partially true, that he became proficient on saxophone because he was grounded so much in his middle school years over his schoolwork performance, he didn’t have anything else to do but play his instrument.
There were other challenges as well. As Max got older, I remember the agony I felt as I watched Max and his church friends go the wrong direction, and I felt powerless to stop it. Everything I had done to try to set him up to win, all the good friendships I had encouraged, all the driving, all the church activities — it all backfired.
And then, it felt for us the like sun coming out after a long storm. Max decided to seek God. He got baptized. It was wonderful.
Max applied for college, but his SAT scores weren’t high enough for the college he wanted to attend. We paid a a lot of money for tutoring. It worked. Max got into his school of choice. But even then, he wasn’t interested in academics. He majored in music performance. That was okay, at least he was in college doing something in which he excelled.
But then halfway through his freshman year, Max decided to quit going to church. I can’t describe the rug-pulled-out-from-under feeling we had, the utter sickness. We had to take it in stride, and believe in Max and his shining worth, even when he made choices we didn’t like.
So all of these memories were was going through my head as Max proposed, and my heart was in wonder.
Because the rest of Max’s story is a testimony to the power of God.
After awhile, Max saw that his life was bereft, and he came back to God. He decided to studying nursing, and graduated as the very top student in adult health care. He applied to Georgia Medical College, and out of a slew of applicants, he was one of the few accepted into the Nurse Anesthetist training program.
And now he has a fiancee, a wonderful young woman who can be a great spiritual partner for him.
God writes the best stories.
There IS power. I see it, even though I am often blinded by the conceit of my efforts.
It is all around me. I see it in Alyson, and how much she is changing as she studies the Bible. I see it in the growth of our church through all kinds of challenges.
I am so profoundly grateful. I am on my knees in awe that I could watch these things unfold.
And the more I see it, the more I have faith.
The Sadducees couldn’t see that there could be a resurrection of the dead. They didn’t know the power of God, that something that improbable could happen.
We sometimes can’t see that God can do the impossible. But the more we remember the miracles we’ve experienced, the more we open our eyes to the miracles that are happening all around us, the more we KNOW God and believe that there’s NOTHING He can’t do.
The Sadducees missed it. I am transfixed by the wonder of it.