Is this not the reason you are mistaken, you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God
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.
In today’s text it says: Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” The Sadducees had tried to catch Jesus with a nearly impossible scenario on earth, in order to disprove the resurrection in heaven. There are many things on earth which are meant to be “like” things in heaven. There are many times in scripture that Jesus compares the kingdom of God to something we know on earth. But, like those in today’s text, we are mistaken when we try to limit scripture, God and the kingdom of heaven by what we know and understand in the natural realm. Many people mistakenly judge God as being undependable, harsh or unloving because of poor father figures on earth. Fathers are called to be like Christ and like God. They are called to be examples of God to their wives and children. That doesn’t mean though that their shortcomings can be imputed to God. God is not defined by nor should He be described according to human weaknesses and shortcomings. The Sadducees tried to limit what is spiritual to what is natural. They tried to limit what is infinite and eternal to what they knew and understood as finite. In our culture and society, in the natural realm, we have a difficult time balancing compassion and justice. We struggle to comprehend that God could have both grace and righteous judgment, because what we know on earth is either one or the other. We struggle with eternity because we only understand finite time. When people try to explain the mysteries of God and creation, limiting the vastness of the universe and the intricacies of life and all of creation by the limits of human knowledge and understanding, by what science knows or believes by what is seen; it is as Jesus says, they are mistaken, because they do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? If scientists will be honest, they will admit that every discovery they make asks more questions than it answers. There is no limit to the vastness and the intricacies of God and His creation.
In today’s text it also says: 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.” The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; 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.” When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” It is one thing to know what is right and even to do it to the best of our human ability. But, Jesus said this man was not far from the kingdom of God. Apparently there was still something he lacked. Even our understanding of love, our ability to love God and our ability to love others, is too often limited by what we know and understand in the natural physical realm. Particularly with the English language, our understanding and comprehension of love is limited. We use the same word to describe how we feel about those closest to us, our children, our siblings and our parents, and also to our spouses, those we love intimately. If that weren’t enough limitation and confusion about what love is, we use the same word to describe our favorite movie, song, team, even our favorite food or drink. Surely we cannot feel the same way about God and pizza. Yet that is the limitation of our love.
1 Corinthians 13 is often referred to as the love chapter. It describes love and even the world and unbelievers will embrace some of what it says. Verses 4-8 say: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. We are mistaken when we define love without knowing the scriptures and the power of God. The world is willing to embrace that love is patient, kind, not jealous, that love is not arrogant, that it does not seek its own. They will accept that love bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things. They mistakenly though impute inclusion and tolerance on love. They want to eliminate that love does not act unbecomingly, that it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in truth. We mistake what love is and what it means to love, when we understand it in human terms rather than understanding it in God’s terms. 1 Corinthians 13 is of course between 12 and 14. If we will read and understand the love chapter in the context in which it is written, we will find that it is speaking about spiritual gifts; things we are given by God, through the Holy Spirit. Love is the greatest of these gifts, but it is still spiritual and not natural. We cannot limit love to only what we know in this natural physical realm. In John 4:24 Jesus says: “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” If we would, love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength.’ If we would love our neighbor as ourself.’ We must do it through the Holy Spirit. We must know both the scriptures and the power of God, given to us through His Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that the man was not far from the kingdom of God. If we would be nearer the kingdom, if we would enter the kingdom of God, we must not be mistaken. We must know the scriptures and we must know the power of God given through His Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit forgive me for all the times and all the ways I have limited You and Your kingdom to my own understanding. May I no longer be mistaken. May I know You and worship You in Spirit and truth. May I truly love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Then with that love, Your true heavenly love, may I love others, by the power of Your Spirit, through Jesus Christ. Amen.