Life After Death: Matthew 22:23-33
“23) On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him, 24) asking, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife, and raise up children for his brother.’ 25) Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; 26) so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. 27) Last of all, the woman died. 28) In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.” 29) But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30) For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31) But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32) ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” 33) When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.” Matthew‬ ‭22‬:‭23‬-‭33‬
The Sadducees now take a shot at Jesus. They did not believe in a resurrection from the dead. They proposed a hypothetical situation to Him intended to mock the idea of a resurrection.
Beware of people who try to establish a theological point with hypothetical arguments. It is usually because they haven’t diligently studied the Bible.
The Sadducees argument was based on a fictitious woman who was married and widowed seven times to brothers without having a child. The question they posed to Jesus was “in the resurrection, whose wife would she be since they were all married to her?” There is no evidence this was a true scenario.
In verse 29, Jesus gave a profound answer; “You are mistaken because you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God.” Both of these will distort truth. The Bible was written against the backdrop of supernaturalism. If you minimize the power of God, you are left having to twist Scripture and distort biblical reality.
An example might be theologians who claim; “God does not do miracles today”, or “some gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased.” These statements are both contrary to Scripture, but they match the bias and experience of the theologian who has embraced naturalism in the same way the Sadducees had.
Jesus then went on to explain that marriage is an earthly and not a heavenly institution. Actually, if there was marriage after the resurrection there would be a much more basic problem than the one posed by the Sadducees; “What about those married to unbelievers?” Their spouse will not be in heaven. Heaven is a new start.
Jesus then touched on the meaning of death. The soul and spirit do not die. They are eternal. Notice verse 32; “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
This is an extension of the previous paragraph in Matthew 22:20-21. People are created in the image of God. The soul and spirit are eternal. It is essential to align yourself with God and His eternal purpose.
When Jesus alluded to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the present tense, He opened the door on another truth. All people who have ever lived are still alive in their soul and spirit. According to 1 Thessalonians 3:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-56; the transformation into our new and glorified bodies will transpire at the same time for all people despite their time in history. It will happen at the return of Christ. I confess, that thought stretches me!
Jesus used this test by the Sadducees to explain some vital truths. It includes concepts that many have never thought about. It is worthy of careful study.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global