Text: Mark 12:18-27
For the glory of the Word
For missionaries who share the Word with other
The Sadducees were a religious group in Judah organized by a group of Temple priests; therefore, their religious authority came from their connection to the Temple and its rites. They saw only the Five Books of Moses (the written Torah) as authoritative, because those books outlined the role of the priests in the Temple, and therefore buttressed their clout and affirmed their particular role in Jewish life.
This is the background to their dispute with Jesus; they would, on principle, not accept any type of authority that came from outside the written Torah. Much like those who insist on “science” in talking about God today, and begin with a definition of “science” brackets out any possible activity of God before the conversation gets started, the Sadducees bracketed out any part of Israel’s experience that was not contained in or explained by the written Torah.
The fact that Jesus bests them on their own turf—citing the encounter of God with Moses from the book of Exodus—is a sign of his authority as the embodied Word. For us today, this story is a sign that we must be careful about the ways in which we “bracket” out parts of the Word in our own day, and not be like the Sadducees, citing only those parts that buttress our clout or affirm the particular roles we have created and claimed for ourselves. Because of the Resurrection, Jesus is Lord, and his authority extends even over our very selves—to both our redemption and our blessing.
Easter joy ~ Pr. Dave Brooks