Our services have officially started! In addition, we are live streaming our sermons through YouTube (Christ Baptist Mokopane) and we’ll also continue to upload a pre-recorded audio version of the same message for those who can’t stream or make it to the services!

The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz this week for your edification and uplifting.

Click here: Mark 12:18-27, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: Mark 12:18-27, for the video feed, and follow the notes below. May the Lord speak into your hearts as you worship.

Mark 12:18-27, The Case for the Resurrection:

  • Now as we come to a new portion in chapter 12, please keep in mind – it is still Wednesday of Passion Week and a series Q&A’s have been taking place and there will be many more to come. In today’s passage, we look at the Resurrection as the Sadducees attempt to trap Jesus.
  • Friends, this is a very important doctrine to understand, as your eternal life depends on it! Now in 1998, Lee Strobel, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a graduate of Yale Law School, published “The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus.” Strobel had formerly been an atheist and was compelled to refute the key Christian claims about Jesus because of his wife’s conversion to evangelical Christianity.

 

  • Strobel was an atheist, who was convinced that “people created God because they were afraid of death,” and his pleasure-seeking lifestyle revealed no spiritual inclinations whatsoever. In his own words, “I lived an immoral, drunken, profane, narcissistic, self-destructive kind of life.”
  • When his wife was befriended by a Christian woman and made a decision to accept Christ, Strobel wasn’t impressed but figured he had nothing to lose in accompanying her to church one Sunday. The theme of the sermon that day was “Basic Christianity” — and Strobel left with a lot on his mind.

 

  • “If this stuff is true,” he told himself, “it has huge implications for my life.” So he spend 2 years investigating & researching evidence on the resurrection as it is the one doctrine that suggests if Christianity is fact of myth!
  • He came up with “four E’s” that provide evidence of Jesus’ resurrection: execution (“You need to have a body”), early accounts (including a first-century creed found in 1 Corinthians 15), the empty tomb and eyewitnesses.
  • “I realized it would take more faith for me to remain an atheist than to become a Christian,” said Strobel, adding that his journey still wasn’t complete until he accepted for himself “this free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.”
  • Therefore this morning we’ll do our own little Q&A in order to understand the importance of the Resurrection and what it means for us!

 

  1. The Question:
  • Text – 12:18-23
  • Explanation – So back in the context of Mark, perhaps very shortly after the group of Herodians and Pharisees slunk away after Christ’s rebuke, another group from the Sanhedrin took their place, seeking to humiliate and destroy of Jesus. These were the Sadducees.
  • Now who were the Sadducees? We don’t have a lot of information about the Sadducees but we have enough to paint a helpful picture of the scene before us.

 

  • Illustration – Their origin is uncertain, but we know that they were an upper-class sect concerned with matters of the temple and it was their power on things there from which much of their wealth arose. Therefore they weren’t too happy when Jesus cleared the Temple.
  • The Sadducees believed in only the Torah (our Pentateuch) as inspired. The rest of the Old Testament held no authority for them. They also rejected the oral traditions. We also know that they rejected the doctrine of the resurrection, and more so the existence of angels and demons (Acts 23:8).

 

  • Application – And so in the context of our passage, the Sadducees wanted to humiliate Jesus in the eyes of the multitudes who were coming to view him as Messiah. And so they come with a question that relates to something referred to in the apocryphal book of Tobit, where a woman marries seven brothers and each died on the wedding night, being strangled to death by a demon.
  • The question goes beyond that, it is grounded in a law found in the Pentateuch, the very section this group of religious leaders affirmed. Deuteronomy 25:5–10 instructs concerning the Levirate law. To assure an offspring and to protect the land inheritance of a family. For if a man died without male offspring, his brother would marry her to raise up offspring in his brother’s place (see Genesis 38:6ff).

 

  • Conclusion – Though the Sadducees held to this law, they put a ridiculous twist to it. They intended to make a joke of the doctrine of the resurrection. “Apparently they thought it was impossible to believe in a notion like resurrection that led to the ridiculous situation of a woman having to choose between seven husbands!”
  • They asked, “In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as a wife” (v. 23). Look, they thought that the resurrection was nonsense and they saw this example as an illustration of why it could not be true.

 

  • Bridge – After all, since God gave the law of marriage, and since God established this law, then God would be creating his own chaos if the resurrection were true. Or so they thought.

 

  1. The Answer:
  • Text – 12:24-27
  • Explanation – Jesus is so clear, He says they are wrong. But where precisely were they in error? Christ’s answer shows us that failing to understand Scripture will lead to an inability in knowing God.
  • Scripture teaches that “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30). For marriage is designed for procreation and since there is no death in the resurrected state, marriage will not be necessary.

 

  • In addition, marriage pictures the ultimate relationship between Christ and his bride, the church. Since that purpose will be fulfilled, it seems highly unlikely that it will continue after death. And finally, Jesus taught clearly that marriage was until death.
  • But what about the Old Testament and the Resurrection? Genesis 5:24 says Enoch “walked with God, and was not, for God took him.” Even if there is no direct reference to a resurrection here, as it certainly implies from life to life.

 

  • Illustration – Abraham displayed belief in a resurrection when he took Isaac to sacrifice him. He had confidence that he and Isaac would both return to his servants (Genesis 22:5). One commentator says, “This implies belief in the resuscitating, if not resurrection, power of God.”
  • And beyond this, Ezekiel 37:3–6 portrays the reality of resurrection. Ezekiel prophesied to dead bones and they came to life. Job knew that after death he would see God in the flesh (Job 19:26). And Isaiah wrote, “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isaiah 26:19).
  • In addition, Daniel prophesied a resurrection, either to everlasting life or to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2). Which by the way refutes the 7th day Adventist belief that there is no hell.
  • So Jesus affirms this by stating that the resurrected will be “like the angels in heaven.” Why angels? First, just as angels do not procreate, neither will we in resurrected bodies. Now Jesus knew the Sadducees rejected belief in angels but that didn’t stop Him from stating the facts.

 

  • Second, Jesus was informing these Sadducees that things would be very different for the believer at death. He was not saying that we will become angels; rather, he was saying that our existence will be very different, because like the angels, we will be occupied primarily with our relationship with God.
  • You would know this if you held to the rest of the Old Testament. Yet they lived in the ignorance of the power of God. If they had any concept of the miraculous power of God, they would not have had any problem believing in the resurrection. But if you deny the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, you will deny His power.

 

  • Application – And so Jesus answered them to convict them of their foolish unbelief, and also to teach us vital principle of trusting God’s Word. Now in order to prove this statement, look at verse 26-27.
  • Jesus went to a portion of Scripture that fell within their accepted framework: Exodus 3. Jesus pointed out that, when the Lord revealed himself to Moses, he did so with the words, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Why is that significant?

 

  • Conclusion – God confronted Moses, getting his attention by a burning bush. God revealed himself as the “I AM.” But he fleshed it out by saying that he was “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” God spoke of his being the present God of these men: The “I AM” language highlights that God was, is, and will always be their God. This implies that they were alive.
  • But, even here we need to think carefully. They were alive because God is alive. And this text makes it clear that they are! Therefore Jesus says, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” There must be a resurrection.

 

  • Bridge – And Jesus proved the resurrection from their Pentateuch. Friends, there will be a resurrection and you will be in it, a resurrection unto life and a resurrection unto death. Every person will live forever. And if you don’t believe this, Christ’s words to you are; “You are greatly mistaken.”
  • If you are in Christ, the resurrection is comforting! There is no end, we’re going to be glorified body, perfect in every way. We will be perfect lovers of God, perfect worshipers. We’ll never be tired, never be bored, never be discouraged, and never be disappointed.

 

  • Philippians 3:20 says, “He will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

 

Application:

  • That’s the truth of our passage, but I also have a few pointers on how we should respond to God’s Word. The Scriptures point us to the power of God, which provide us with all we need for the hope of the resurrection. Jesus Himself proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life” John 11:25.
  • Without the resurrection, there is no good news. Because if Jesus did not rise from the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:19, Paul says that we are to be the most pitied. Yet, a verse later, Paul says that Christ has been raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20). Therefore we should be glad.
  • In Romans 8:11, Paul says “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” This is at the heart of the good news of the gospel.

 

  • Don’t make the foolish mistake of thinking you know the Scriptures, don’t assume your children understand or know the Scriptures. To know them means to be intimate with His Word.
  • Be in His Word individually, but also as families. Let us honour the Lord, not by pretending to know His Word, but by living in it – for His Word leads to life, the resurrected life!