Brother Jeff's Message
We hear a lot about the Pharisees and the Sadducees and their opposition to Jesus but how many of us know who these two groups of people are? Understanding the specific beliefs of each sect puts a new light on some their interactions with Jesus. Take for instance the Sadducees attempt at stumping Jesus in Matthew 22:23-33. Understand first, both the Pharisees and the Sadducees were highly intelligent Jewish men educated in the Law of Moses and often serving on the Sanhedrin, a legislative and judicial body for the Jews who handled both religious and political issues. Generally the Sadducees were more affluent and the Pharisees more the working class type; the Sadducees typically held a majority in the Sanhedrin but often gave in to the demands of the Pharisees because the Pharisees more readily identified with the masses. There are no writings left by the Sadducees, who disappeared around 70 AD with the second destruction of the temple in Jerusalem so the writings we have come from either the Bible or one of their rival sects. The Bible tells us the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection (Matthew 22:23) so it’s interesting they would attempt to stump Jesus by asking him about something they didn’t even believe in. His answer to their query both silenced the Sadducees and taught a pointed lesson about life after death. Since the Sadducees believed only in what was specifically written in the Law of Moses, allowing for nothing but what was written in the Law, Jesus’ answer challenged them by not only acknowledging a resurrection, but pointing out that it was ‘written’ (Matthew 22:31) and they missed it (or more accurately, refused to see it). Again, remember the Sadducees were considered religious authorities, which gives them something in common with us. Like it or not, as Christians we too are considered religious authorities, at least by the world. Since we claim to live by the Word, one could rightly get the impression we know what is written within the pages of the book which guides our lives. My point is not that we can or should be perfect in order to receive God’s grace, although I strongly believe we should strive to be perfect. My point is that we should be reading and learning the Word of God. Jesus very simply points out the Sadducees are arguing a position they clearly have not read about. How can we tell the world the Good News we have not read?