“Jesus answered them, “You are deceived because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.”” Matthew 22:29.
Yesterday, we looked at an encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees, the religious conservatives of 1st Century Judea. Today we look at another group that sought to question Jesus at every opportunity, the Sadducees.
The Sadducees were the complete opposite of the Pharisees; the Sadducees were the wealthy, liberal elite of their day. They were often ridiculed for their collaboration with the Roman occupiers and merely paid lip-service to the Scriptures. The Sadducees even went as far as to deny any possibility of a resurrection at the end of time.
In this encounter, a group of Sadducees approached Jesus with a very technical and elaborate question regarding marriage laws and death and the resurrection, which the Sadducees themselves denied. This question was designed to stump Christ, or make Him look foolish, but the response they received was not at all what they expected. Instead of stumping Christ, the Sadducees gave Him the perfect opportunity to call them out for their lack of belief and lack of respect for the Scripture. In essence, we saw Christ call out the Pharisees for being too self-righteous yesterday; today we see Him call out the Sadducees out for not being righteous at all.
Today, liberalism in religion is just as dangerous as overly conservative self-righteousness. Many churches in the U.S. have forgotten the Gospel message of Christ and have morphed into social organizations, throwing money and volunteer hours at every ill that plagues society. Many today have attempted to mold Christ into a peacenik who avoided confrontation and wanted to be a friend of all. This image couldn’t be further from the truth. Throughout the four Gospels, we see where Christ repeatedly tells the crowds who wish to follow them that He “came to separate families,” that they couldn’t follow Him if they wanted to keep one eye back on their homes, that following Him had to be their only desire. Jesus was not politically correct, nor did He desire to be. Jesus confronted sin, something that many churches and ministers do not do today. Many today, just like the Sadducees, are deceived because they do not know the Scriptures or believe in God and His power. They peddle a watered down Gospel, lacking accountability or confrontation of sin, and are blinded by the gilded luster of their own good works.