Luke 20:27-40-(cf. February 3, Matthew 22:23-46). The Sadducees (who did not believe in the resurrection) tried to trick Jesus concerning the resurrection by telling a hypothetical story about a woman who had been married to seven brothers. She married the first brother, but then he died. And, so it happened with the other six, one after the other, until they all had died. Eventually, she too died. Their question was whose wife would she be in the resurrection. They were trying to use a convoluted situation to confuse the issue of the resurrection. However, they misunderstood the nature of the resurrection. Jesus tells them that there is no marriage in Heaven. So, their improbable scenario has no relevance since she would not be married to any of them. Much to their chagrin, He then uses this very conversation to reaffirm that there is a resurrection and referred to a passage from the Old Testament as a proof text (Exodus 3:6). This passage teaches that God still had a relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even though they had died long before. Therefore, there must be a resurrection, since they are living and not still dead.
Who were the Pharisees and Sadducees?
Luke 20:41-44-Jesus then quotes Psalm 110:1, as further proof of the resurrection. King David had been dead for many centuries…and yet, this passage says that he dialogues with the Messiah, who is still yet to come. How is that possible if there is no resurrection? If David is dead, and there is no resurrection, then he could not have this conversation with the Messiah. Jesus was also using this passage to show that the Messiah was of the human lineage of David…as Jesus was, Himself.
Luke 20:45-47-Jesus warns those who were listening about the “scribes”…who do everything they can to attract attention to themselves from other people.
Who were the Scribes?
Jesus mentions five different examples of this behavior. But mixed in among these examples He drops one phrase, “who devour widow’s houses.” The word “devour” is a strong, intense word that speaks of wanton destruction, of abuse for personal gain, and of total lack of concern for the welfare of another person.
kata, “down,” intensive, and No. 1, signifies
(a) “to consume by eating, to devour,” said of birds, Mat 13:4; Mar 4:4; Luk 8:5; of the Dragon, Rev 12:4; of a prophet, “eating” up a book, suggestive of spiritually “eating” and digesting its contents, Rev 10:9 (cp. Eze 2:8; 3:1-3; Jer 15:16);
(b) metaphorically, “to squander, to waste,” Luk 15:30; “to consume” one’s physical powers by emotion, Jhn 2:17; “to devour” by forcible appropriation, as of widows’ property, Mat 23:14 (AV only); Mar 12:40; “to demand maintenance,” as false apostles did to the church at Corinth, 2Cr 11:20; “to exploit or prey on one another,” Gal 5:15, where “bite… devour… consume” form a climax, the first two describing a process, the last the act of swallowing down; to “destroy” by fire, Rev 11:5; 20:9.
(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2719&t=NASB, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
It is hard to imagine that someone would willfully mistreat another person in such a demeaning manner…in the name of God. But the reality is that it was done in the days of Jesus, and it is done in our day, as well. People will use God for their own purposes. Jesus warns us to “beware” of such people.
lit., “to hold to” (pros, “to,” echo, “to have, to hold”), hence, “to turn one’s mind or attention to a thing by being on one’s guard against it” is translated “beware” in Mat 7:15; 10:17; 16:6, 11, 12; Luk 12:1; 20:46.
(http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4337&t=NASB, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
To “beware” means more than just being “aware” of something. It also means to do something about it, when it is discovered. To not allow it to continue to happen. Those who practice such avarice behavior will face a greater judgment (:47). Those who see it happening and don’t do anything about it…become part of the system that allows it and will also be held to a greater degree of accountability before God. With knowledge comes responsibility. Why did Jesus make this comment about the scribes, at this time? Could it be a continuation of his conversation with the Sadducees? Because they did not believe in the resurrection, they therefore did not fear the judgment that they would face at the resurrection? Notice that in verse 39, the scribes told Jesus that He had done a good job in His answer to the Sadducees. Almost as if they were telling Him that He had really put them in their place! But, Jesus is aware that while not everyone in the crowd accepted the beliefs of the Sadducees towards the resurrection…many who believed in the resurrection, none-the-less reflected the behavior of the Sadducees. While they said they believed in the resurrection…they lived like they thought that they would never have to stand before God in judgment for their actions and behaviors in this life. So, Jesus uses this moment to warn the people (using the scribes as His example) to not think that they can do whatever they want to do in this life…and not have to be accountable in the next life.
Prayer: Lord, it seems that the Sadducees were so intent on tripping up Jesus that they failed to see the simple truth that was right in front of them. They were so convinced that they were right and were so intent on proving it, that the truth was ignored. Please help me to not become caught up in trying to construct arguments and defenses to the degree that I lose sight of the truth. Guide me to Your truth. Help me to know and understand what You have said is true…and not merely try to defend what I believe, or want to be true.