Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” (verse 29)
The Sadducees had the Scriptures, the very revelation of God, but actually didn’t accept it all. And even what they did accept, they didn’t fully embrace. They had narrowed the scope of the Scriptures to the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, the books of Moses. On that basis, they felt justified in rejecting any belief in the resurrection or angels or spirits.
Jesus challenges this theological disbelief by drawing solely on the Scripture they themselves affirmed, quoting the word of the Lord spoken to Moses at the burning bush, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” In so doing he refutes their mocking assertion that there is no resurrection. “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (verse 32), Jesus says. Of course.
Had the Sadducees been debating the issue of angels, Jesus could have similarly challenged their viewpoint. He might well have quoted any number of events from the Pentateuch, including Abraham’s conversation with the Lord and his messengers regarding Sodom (Gen 18-19), Jacob’s dream of a stairway reaching to heaven (Gen 28), the angel of the Lord encountering Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3), and the angel who led the people of Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 14). The Sadducees had blinders on. They didn’t take seriously the revelation they had been given.
Therefore, they cut themselves off from God’s power. They reduced life to the natural, eliminating the supernatural, avoiding mystery, and thereby avoiding encounter with the living God.
How often do we do the same? We forget our God intervenes with power beyond the natural, fully able to transform impossibilities into the freshly possible. How often do we stop short of believing? How often do we neglect to truly embrace what we know the Scripture teaches?
O Lord, may you put your finger on my own disbelief, especially when I can’t even see it for what it is.
Surprise me with clear-sightedness from the Scriptures, challenging my assumptions and drawing me to deeper faith.
I repent of the blinders I’ve adopted, influenced by the ordinariness of the world around me. I choose to open my eyes wide again to your truth, that I may be sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot yet fully see.
Help me, O my Lord.
Reflect: Is there a circumstance in your life in which your faith has blinders on? If so, repent. Put it in the Lord’s hands. Then embrace again the full truth of Scripture, and watch for the power of God.