The Gospel of Mark: a commentary & meditation 
"You  know neither the scriptures nor the power of God"

Gospel reading: Mark 12:18-27

18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, 19 "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the wife, and raise up  children for his brother.  20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no children; 21 and the second took her, and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; 22 and the seven left no children. Last of all the woman also died.  23 In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife."  24 Jesus said to them, "Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.  26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong."

Meditation: The Sadducees had one big problem -- they could not conceive of heaven beyond what they could see with their naked eyes!  Aren’t we often like them?  We don’t recognize spiritual realities because we try to make heaven into an earthly image.  The Sadducees came to Jesus with a test question to make the resurrection look ridiculous.  The Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees, did not believe in immortality, nor in angels or evil spirits.  Their religion was literally grounded in an earthly image of heaven.  Jesus retorts by dealing with the fact of the resurrection.  The scriptures give proof of it. In Exodus 3:6, God calls himself the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.   He defeats their arguments by showing that God is a living God of a living people.  God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they lived.  That friendship could not cease with death.  As Psalm 73:23-24 states:  "I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory."  The Holy Spirit reveals to us the eternal truths of God’s unending love and the life he desires to share with us for all eternity.  Paul the Apostle, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17) states: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).  The promise of paradise -- heavenly bliss and unending life with an all-loving God — is beyond human reckoning.  We have only begun to taste the first-fruits! Do you believe the scriptures and do you know the power of the Holy Spirit?

 “May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen.  May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart’s vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages.” (Prayer of Origen, c. 185-254)

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 (c) 2001 Don Schwager