The stage has been set for the second wave of the Jewish leaders’ plot to unfold. The second assault team, this time made up of a group of Sadducees, makes their advance on Jesus.
The Sadducees were a rival group to the Pharisees, they were an aristocratic bunch, in high favor with the wealthy, and Jesus was a clear threat to their high and lofty status in the land. Their attack centers upon the issue of the resurrection of the dead, something the Sadducees do not believe in.
They give Jesus their example of seven brothers, all of whom end up being married to the same woman, as each dies in succession without producing an heir. This is a reference to Deut. 25:5-6 and Lev. 38:8 which directs that when a man is married and dies without a child to be his heir, his brother must marry his widow and produce an heir for his dead brother. The premise of their question is that after the resurrection (that they don’t believe in) people remain married in the afterlife, and as it turns out, this is an entirely false premise.
Jesus tells them that “you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” He goes on to explain their misunderstanding of the power of God as He tells them about the complete transformation of people in the afterlife as they become “like the angels” in heaven with no further need for procreation. Then He demonstrates their lack of knowledge of the Scriptures in an interesting way, using an example from Exodus.
Citing Exodus 3:6 where God reveals Himself as “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” Jesus points out that these three men were centuries in the grave, while God spoke of them as though they were still very much alive, and drives His point home by saying “He is not the God of the dead but of the living”. It would seem that the extreme materialism of the Sadducees had blinded them to the truth contained in the Scriptures.
Matthew doesn’t record the reaction of the Sadducees, but the crowd was “amazed” at His teaching.
And the second wave of the assault fell back in defeat; the third wave assault team, this time comprised of Pharisees made ready to advance…