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life after death

The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “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, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.” But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘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.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching. Matthew 22: 23-33
From time to time, UK newspapers report unfavourably on the excessive use, by government there, of consultants. Interestingly, the same happens regularly in Jersey. Such experts are expensive. Can’t you think for yourselves?

When first I experienced consultants first-hand as it were, a rather more experienced colleague told me his etymology of the word “expert”. The X in expert, he said, meant an unknown quantity. The spert (pronounced “spurt”) meant a drip under pressure.  

Do experts worry you? Do they tend to overpower you?


‘Doubt is not always a sign that a man is wrong: it may be a sign that he is thinking.’ (Oswald Chambers, evangelist and teacher, 1874-1917)
Matthew’s first-century biography of Jesus records (see bold above) that certain experts came to Jesus in Jerusalem during the final week before his crucifixion, before his resurrection. They were members of a religious political party called Sadducees. 

Historians tell us that Sadducees were often wealthy and were regarded as elitist. They discarded most of the written Scriptures of Israel (the Old Testament now included in Christian Bibles) as not coming from God. This left only the five books of Moses (dating from around 1300 BC) as their Scriptures. 

They also absolutely denied all possibility of any resurrection after death. Death was the end. Nothing after. Nothing at all.

Rather arrogantly they formulated a question for Jesus which would show him – and the crowd – how clever they were and how there was no resurrection.
The question involved a lady who had seven husbands one after the other and no children. In the resurrection, they asked, whose wife will she be?

That’s rather a good question, isn’t it? Jesus’ reply was that in the resurrection there’s no marriage but all are like the angels in heaven. But he prefaced that with a comment which set out the two key failures of these experts – these consultants. 

He said, “You are wrong because you have no knowledge whatsoever of two things. You don’t know the Scriptures. You don’t know the power of God. Does that illustrate what is a problem for me as well? Am I convinced that I know things when I don’t? Am I convinced that anything I can’t see doesn’t exist?


 ‘We are more sure to arise out of our graves than out of our beds.’ (Thomas Watson, preacher and writer, 1620-1686)
But that wasn’t the end of this incident. Jesus took one of the Scriptures which the Sadducees did believe was from God – one of the five books of Moses. He quoted a sentence from the book of Exodus, where God said to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were long dead. By informing Moses without reservation that that he is, at that very time, the God of Abraham, that he is, at that very time, the God of Isaac, and that he is, at that very time the God of Jacob – when all three were believed still to be dead, God made it clear that all three were alive again.

Jesus’ closing words were. “He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” “You Sadducees are quite wrong.” In their absolute and arrogant certainty they were wrong. But the listening crowds were very struck by his teaching.

Which expert shall I listen to? Or shall I just live with my certainties?

Sinner Syvret

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