Verse of the Day Devotion: Mark 12:24
“Jesus said to them, is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” – Mark 12:24
This verse was spoken by Jesus to the Sadducees because of their wrong understanding of the scriptures. They asked Jesus a question regarding the resurrection. The Sadducees denied there were angels and spirits, as well as the immortality of the soul. They also believed when the body died the soul did as well. They did not believe there was any future state of mankind or a resurrection. Therefore, this was essentially a trick question to get Jesus to stumble in giving an answer, thus exposing a weakness in the doctrine.
The Sadducees were an aristocratic class connected with everything going on in the temple in Jerusalem. They tended to be wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest. They also held the majority of the seats in the Sanhedrin. Some of their wrong beliefs were 1. They were self-sufficient and therefore denied God’s involvement in everyday life. 2. Denied the resurrection and the afterlife as stated above, 3. They denied the existence of a spiritual world; angels, demons, etc. They were essentially a political sect rather than a religious sect; however, they took this role as well and when Jesus came, they feared He would create issues the among the Jewish people.
The question they asked was, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.” Mark 12:19-23. Jesus responded in the words of our focus verse, essentially insinuating they did not know the scriptures. He then goes on to say, “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.” Mark 12:25-27.
They, as well as the Pharisees taught the people about God and what it meant to serve Him and do His will. Unfortunately, they did not understand what the truth was, and because they were in a top position within Judaism, they taught what they believed and not necessarily what was reality. They expected the people to just accept what they said with no questions. And unfortunately, we see the same thing today, and I see it becoming more prevalent as time goes by. Many preachers teach what they want to believe and ultimately what they want us to believe.
Therefore, there are two things we need to do in order to ensure we understand what God is saying in His word. First, we must study the word ourselves so that we can learn as much as we can about Him and what He expects. Paul wrote this to Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”. As we pray and study, we will be prepared to help others who are working to understand what His word says. And secondly, check what others teach and ensure it is truth. Paul said it was a good thing to do this. “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11. If something seems odd or not quite right, check it out. And if it is wrong, go to them who taught this and discuss it with them. It is important that everything taught from the Word of God is accurate and helps us all grow in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
The Bible is far too important a document not to understood it as meant by the authors. It helps us to truly understand God and His great love for us and how we can show our love for Him. Jesus told us “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.“ John 14:15. And the best way for us to keep His commandments is to know what they are and how best to keep them. That is why we need to spend concerted time in the study of His word, and also check out anything taught that seems off base. And by doing this, we will be able to answer questions that may come up or defend the truth when it is questioned. “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:15-16.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.