Matthew 22:29 “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures<sup class="crossreference" value="(T)”> or the power of God.”

     The Sadducees who were hoping to confuse Jesus with a ridiculous scenario involving seven unfortunate brothers each marrying his predeceased brother’s childless wife in order to preserve the name  and property of his family.  ‘When this unfortunate widow dies’, they asked, ‘whose wife will she be after her resurrection?’  They wanted to trip Jesus up and make Him say something wrong or get Him off track.  In one short sentence, Jesus exposed them.

     The Sadducees  didn’t believe in the resurrection after death.  Matthew Henry sums up this group and how they fit in with Jesus’ other worldly adversaries: “As the Pharisees and Essenes seemed to follow Plato and Pythagoras, so the Sadducees were much of the genius of the Epicureans; they denied the resurrection, they said, There is no future state, no life after this; that, when the body dies, the soul is annihilated, and dies with it; that there is no state of rewards or punishments in the other world; no judgement to come in heaven or hell. They maintained, that, except God, there is not spirit . . .”
       Today we often hear scripture mocked  by those who try to push it to extreme scenarios hoping to trip up those who have complete faith in God’s Word.  John Wesley writing on this verse succinctly described the blindness of the Sadducees and those like them; “Ye err, not knowing the Scriptures – Which plainly assert a resurrection. Nor the power of God – Which is well able to effect it. How many errors flow from the same source?”  Many errors flow from it – these errors are splitting up the church and destroying our unity.
     Jesus dealt with this kind of intellectual and spiritual treachery head on.  “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.  But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”  (Matthew 22:30-32)
    Scriptures of Jesus’ day testified to the resurrection; “And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed,  Then without my flesh shall I see God”  (Job 19:26)  The Power of God was scriptural reality; “Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people . . .” (Ezekiel 33:12)  God Himself testified to being the God of the living (Exodus 3:6).  
      The Sadducees allowed one part of scripture but not another.  Their tactic was to use some parts of scripture to diminish the whole.  They had no fear of God; “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”  (Deut. 4:2)  The times and tactics of Jesus’ enemy hasn’t changed.  Satan  attacks when you least suspect and will use your own lack of knowledge to betray you.  Had Jesus not known scripture, had He not walked with God on a daily basis, He would have been tripped up and put on the defensive.
     One pastor describes the Sadducees’ trickery in this way; “Their question was based on a human concept and not the Word of God. They wanted to know if a woman married 7 brothers successively, after each died, whose wife would she be after she died. A crazy question to waste time and distract from the more important matters . . . “.  Satan loves to distract because it is the first step to fooling someone and stealing their faith.  Satan still battles for the souls of God’s children and he still does it with mockery and smart sounding arguments.

      This battle has been going on for a long time and it rages today. Many cannot see it. Many more don’t care about it as they are already behind enemy lines. Those that fight against the mockery and lies on the front line are outnumbered and unpopular just as Jesus was and still is.  The battle isn’t over error. The battle is over the souls of those who are captive to lies.  The weapons used by Satan are  error and lies. The weapons used by Jesus and His disciples are Scripture and the power of God.  The battle isn’t about knowing the Scriptures or the power of God. The battle is fought with Scripture and with the power of God. The enemy has taken error and made it into a weapon and uses it against us all. I choose to fight not to defend my beliefs – the Truth needs no defence. I choose to fight to recover lost ground; to reach out to those who are captives behind enemy lines.

     It falls squarely on every Christian to do his own homework and not rely on others.  We can hide in our churches and ignore those outside the cosy walls of the assurance of our own salvation.  We can grow complacent to the plight of others and allow ignorance of scripture to take hold because the press of the battle is so far away.  Yet the Bible tells us plainly; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. (2 Timothy 2:15)  If you don’t make the effort to know His Word you will find yourself deceived and defenceless against the very attacks Jesus was subjected to because the battle against the Truth is right outside your door.
     Our lives depend on His Word!  The lives of our loved ones and neighbours depend on His Word.  Jesus countered the devil’s attacks with His knowledge of scripture and the Power of God. When Jesus faced His adversary the devil He said; “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  (Matthew 4:4)
         Praise the Lord!