“Is this not the reason you are mistaken..."
Mark 12:18-37 from the daily reading in the One year Bible
Some Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) came to Jesus, and began questioning Him, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves behind a wife and leaves no child, his brother should marry the wife and raise up children to his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children. 21 The second one married her, and died leaving behind no children; and the third likewise; 22 and so all seven left no children. Last of all the woman died also. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” 24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.”
28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; 33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.
35 And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself said in the Holy Spirit,
‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.”’ 37 David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him.
That Sadducees in today’s text made a mistake that many today make. It’s not the mistake of not believing in the resurrection that I am talking about, it is the mistake of trying to comprehend, define and confine heavenly things in by and in our human natural understanding and reality. They tried to put heaven’s reality into the earthly box of their understanding. They could not understand that human relationships will no longer be defined in heaven as they are on earth. God says: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) As much as human knowledge and understanding has increased, one fact remains, the more we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t know. Every question that science answers leads to multiple new unanswered questions. We simply cannot ever know, in finite terms, the infinite God or His creation. If we will accept that God is beyond our comprehension, then we will stop questioning and limiting Him. We will no longer say things like: Why would a loving God…? How could a loving and just God…? If we will accept and acknowledge God’s sovereignty, that He is above and beyond our finite comprehension, then rather than question God, we will simply worship, praise and thank Him.
In the second part of today’s text we see another area where we tend to try to live up to God’s commandments in human terms. Verses 28-31 say: One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Just as the Sadducees mistakenly tried to define relationships in heaven according to earthly limitations, so too do we err if we limit the commandment to love God and others to human love, if we try to love a heavenly God only in a natural human way. First we are to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We need to recognize that our ability to love at all is a response to the love of God. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. So our foremost commandment to love God is a response to His love for us. His love is not a like what we know. God’s love is: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) God does not demonstrate His love to us as we demonstrate love to others. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Until we have fully comprehended the love of God, demonstrated in the cross of Christ, we cannot rightly love God.
The second commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself is also dependant on our comprehension of God’s love. We are to love others, not in natural human love, but rather we are to love others as we ourselves are loved. The love we have for others is to be an unconditional love, a love that looks past faults and a love that does not seek what can be gained but rather seeks to give. If we will truly love others with a Godly love, then our love should also point them to the cross, the demonstration of the first and greatest love known to man, a love that cannot be comprehended, described or portrayed by the limitations of our finite minds and bodies. In John 4:24 Jesus says: "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." To worship God is a demonstration of our love for Him. We cannot do spiritual things if we remain limited to the natural, physical realm. Both our love of God and our love of others is to be in spirit and truth, beyond the limitations of our own ability.
Today’s text ends with a final example of the higher ways of heaven than earth. And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.”’ David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him. Jesus Christ is: the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. (Revelation 13:8) Jesus the man, the son born to Mary, was born through the line of David. He lived and walked as a finite man, yet He was eternally the Lord and Savior. The text says that the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him. If we will open our minds, if we will believe not with our limited human understanding, but rather if we will believe by the Spirit, then we too, rather than questioning God will simply enjoy Him.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for the demonstration of true love. Thank You for the cross. Jesus, You taught us to pray that we would see things on earth as they are in heaven. Forgive me when I instead see You and heavenly things by my limited world view. Holy Spirit in all things, both my love and worship of God and my love for others, be my guide, that I may love in Spirit and truth. Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus I recognize that You and Your ways are beyond the limits of my human comprehension. Thank You for Your Spirit so that I might enjoy all that You have for me. Amen.