Trick Question

Read Matthew 22:23-33

I loved riddles and mental tricks when I was a kid. I remember one Christmas party at my house, with 40 members of my dad’s college choir, where one of the students brought up a crazy mental trick having to do with describing a Christmas tree. It would be too hard to explain it here, but let me tell you, there was a lot of fun and laughter as, one by one, people figured out the trick. I was one of the last to figure it out and I still remember my “aha” moment.

But the Sadducees didn’t devise their trick question for fun, although I’m sure they thought they were quite clever. They designed it to embarrass Jesus by its absurdity, and thus force Him to admit that the idea of resurrection from the dead was ridiculous.

Jesus, as usual, replies in a shocking, disarming way. He exposes the Sadducees’ arrogance and ignorance, and reminds them of a Scripture they know like the back of their hands. God says, “I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” not “I WAS the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” So those men of faith are alive. As Pastor Marc often preached, “God doesn’t have any dead friends.” Hallelujah! The Lord didn’t give us the details of how our resurrection will work, but He repeatedly assured us it would happen. And in the afterlife, there will be no death, so no need for procreation, and thus no marriage. So Jesus disabled the Sadducees’ trick question. What a Savior we have!

As we draw nearer to Holy Week, let’s remember what Jesus said to Martha when her beloved brother Lazarus died: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). Brothers and sisters, this is incredibly good news! Let’s worship our Lord for all He has done for us.


For reflection:

  • In what way or ways do you think the crowd was astonished at Jesus’ teaching?
  • Jesus said the Sadducees did not know the power of God. What do you think He meant, and how can you have a correct understanding of God’s power?


by Ruth Thompson Carver

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