Nov 11, 2019
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
Have you ever gotten yourself into one of those debates you never wish you'd entered? One you know there was nothing you could do but dig a deeper hole for yourself? You know the kind. Sometimes they involve politics or science or family or religion or a host of other topics, but there is just no way out and absolutely no winning.
In those debates, facts are fuzzy at best. No one has the real scoop because no one was around when events took place or like traffic accidents, everyone there saw the event from a different angle and so saw the crash just a little differently. It's like standing on the other side of the word mom. From one side it says MOM, from the other it says WOW. Who is right? Both maybe. But not really, because the person who wrote the word in the first place is the right one.
After the fact, when the author is gone, and we happen on the word years later with no context, we wouldn't know who is right. Either of us could walk up to the word and debate all day long about whether it says MOM or WOW and never know until some other intervention brings light to the events that happened that day that caused the writing and how the author penned it into the medium onto which we stare.
That's how a lot of debates happen with scripture. We weren't there when authors put words down. Jesus said things we don't understand. He debated concepts from the old covenant with the scholars of his day that they didn't understand and wouldn't accept what he said. But Jesus spoke with authority because he knew facts they didn't. He saw things from a different perspective. But Jesus' view was infallible because he was there from the beginning. He was part of the inspiration process for the words in the first place.
Luke records one such debate in chapter 20 of his first book to Theophilus we call the gospel of Luke. Here is what he wrote.
Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her."
Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive." (NIV)
The debate between the Sadducees and the Pharisees stayed heated over the topic of the resurrection. The Pharisees believed in a final resurrection of the dead; the Sadducees did not. The Sadducees based their beliefs only on the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, the Books of the Law. The Torah doesn't mention the resurrection, so obviously, it must not exist according to the Sadducees.
The Pharisees accept the entirety of the Law and Prophets as inspired scripture in which the resurrection can be found and so believe in it. The debates became heated to the point fistfights broke out in the council at times. Amazingly enough, the two groups joined together to try to trap Jesus in his words to condemn him in his teaching. And on this day, the Sadducees took their turn at trying to trap Jesus with their questions.
Let's use Moses' rules about marriage to trap Jesus in his teaching about the resurrection. If people rise from the dead, what brother of seven, married to the same woman, will be her husband?
In our Christian faith today, we think this a stupid question. But think about the impact of the answer when first presented. First, the debate over a final resurrection raged within the temple, and the people just listened with no real answer. There might exist some hope of such, but the prevailing thought at the time said that when you died, you went to Sheol, the place of the dead. You existed, but it wasn't a happy place. Sheol represented all that is anti-life; a place of silence where there is no praise of God; a place where God's presence is not felt. 
The Sadducees thought that was the end. You headed to Sheol and stayed. There might be a difference between the righteous and wicked in their experiences in Sheol, but that was the final resting place for everyone. The Pharisees, however, thought Yahweh, Jehovah, would rescue the righteous from Sheol at the judgment. The righteous dead would experience a bodily resurrection from the dead at the end of time.
Jesus ended all debate about the resurrection for all time. First, he answered the Sadducees by pointing out their ignorance about the topic. He pointed out the fact of the resurrection but significantly changed from the current thought of what it meant. The resurrected no longer tied themselves to the Mosaic law but operated under the laws God set, more like the angels in heaven.
Second, he often talked about his own death and resurrection. His disciples and others who heard him didn't understand at the time but remembered after they found his tomb empty on that first Easter morning. Jesus consistently announced the fact of his resurrection as the first event of many to come. A bodily rising from the dead in a form recognizable to all who saw him.
Third, it happened. Jesus, Paul says, became the first fruits of the resurrection. God ordained a day on which Jesus will return to take with him all those who believe in him for salvation. Paul tells us all the dead will rise first, then we who are left will be taken up with them in the air. I'm not sure I understand what that will look like except that the disciples saw a bodily resurrected Jesus appear with them behind a locked door. He walked with two men on their way to Emmaus and ate with them. More than five hundred people saw him after his resurrection in a physical form that defies what we know about physics.
Jesus demonstrated what those resurrected bodies could do. We don't understand it. Many couldn't believe it then and don't believe it now. But his resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith. If Jesus did not come out of that tomb on that Sunday morning, the disciples would have abandoned the message. The Jewish Council and the Romans would have branded Jesus one more renegade, trying to overthrow the status quo. We would still stand condemned in our sins.
But the resurrection is real. Jesus did it. We believe. He forgives. We have hope in him. Those who believe will live with him forever in resurrected bodies like his resurrected body.
Read about him. Hope in him. Believe in him. And live.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan
 Sheol: The Abode of the Dead: A Study of the Imagery of Sheol (שְׁאוֹל ) in the Book of Psalms, BIBSPACES: ‘Moving in Christ,’ https://bibspaces.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/sheol-the-abode-of-the-dead-a-study-of-the-imagery-of-sheol-שְ%D7%81או%D6%B9ל-in-the-book-of-psalms/