Sunday 15 July 2012

Are you sadder than a Sadducee?

The Sadducees say there is no resurrection. They only believe in the first five books of the bible. And they think they are smarter than Jesus. They are sad, you see?

But I wonder, how many of us today might be sadder than a Sadducee?

1. Who are you listening to?

“Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us...”
Matthew 22:24

There’s nothing wrong with listening to Moses. In fact, Jesus intentionally answers their question using Moses’ words written in the bible. And yet, Jesus says to them, “Have you not read what God said to you?” (verse 31) Not, what God said to Moses, but what God was saying to you.

When you open your bibles, is it just another opinion you are looking for - no different from reading the Sunday papers or finding out an interesting fun fact on QI? Or, don’t you know that what God says in his word, he says to you?

2. Are you living just for this life?
At the very least, the Sadducees acknowledge there is such a thing as death. They may not believe in the resurrection - that God will one day raise all of us from the dead, some to eternal life, others to eternal condemnation - but still, they are willing to talk about death, something all of us should agree on. Something all of us will experience.

As such, the Sadducees struggle with the whole concept of life after death, and that is sad. But some of us are sadder still. We don’t even struggle with life in this life. We don’t want to think about life and death issues. We avoid the topic altogether. As such, we are unprepared to deal with suffering; we’re surprised. We complain. We become impatient. But worst of all, we lack joy, because our lives lack meaning.

At least the Sadducees thought that this life was worth living. They asked Jesus about marriage in this life. They asked Jesus about raising children in this life. Many today don’t even ask the question: Is this life worth living?

3. Do you know the cross?

“You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”
Matthew 22:29

It is amazing how Jesus deals with people on their own terms. To the Sadducees, who only know Moses, he answered them using Moses’ words. To the Samaritan woman, who wanted to talk about worship and the temple, Jesus talked about the true kind of worshippers the Father was looking for. To the Herodians who wanted to talk politics, Jesus said, “Render to Caesar,” but he also said, “Render to God.” That is, Jesus answers the question, he deals directly with the questioner, but he always brings the focus back to God.

Mind you, he had no qualms telling them they were wrong to their face. “You are in error,” he said to the Sadducees. “You worship what you do not know,” he said to the Samaritan woman. “You hypocrites,” he said to the Herodians and Pharisees. The questioner’s motives may have been less than sincere, yet Jesus still answered the question. And each time, he pointed forward to the cross. He brought them closer to understanding the purpose of his death and resurrection.

Today, many still come to Jesus asking him questions about all manner of things. But unlike the Sadducees, the Pharisees or the Herodians - who only had the books of Moses; who only had the Old Testament; who only knew Herod as their king - we actually have the whole story played out before us. The bible points the fulfilment of every single one of God’s promises in Jesus Christ on the cross.

So, it should be no surprise to us that when God deals with our questions, he is going to say to you and me, “Look to the cross.” Such that, instead of asking, “Will I be raised from the dead?” the bible asks us, “Have you been raised in Jesus Christ?”

Do you know the cross? Unlike the Sadducee, God can actually say of you today, you should.

No comments: