You may have heard the phrase:
“Don’t abandon what you know,
For that which you don’t know.”
I can’t remember where I heard that quote first, but it came to mind during yesterday’s sermon at our church.
You see, our pastor was going through Mark 12:18-27 where Jesus is in the middle of multiple question “traps” from the religious leaders.
Their goal was to catch Him in His words so they could turn Him over to the Roman government, or so that the people who loved and supported Him would rebel against Him.
And, of course, they fail.
But their attacks reveal problems in their own beliefs and in their own hearts.
And their problems, are often ones we struggle with as well.
A Breakdown Of The Situation
In this quick story, the Sadducees approach Jesus and give Him a logical reason why the resurrection can’t happen – why there can’t be life after death.
Their reasoning is that according to the law of Moses, a man is suppose to take his brother’s widow as his wife, if his brother and sister-in-law had no children, in order to make sure she’s taken care of. The dilemma is, if she fails to have children with either brother, then whose wife would she be in the “life after death”?
It’s important to note that the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection, and this was probably one of their strongest reasonings.
In response, Jesus tells them that they are in “error” because…
• They do not know the Scriptures
• They do not know the power of God
Pretty strong words.
Jesus then tells them that in the afterlife, people will no longer be married or become married and so their argument is useless.
He then goes on to remind them of scripture that clearly shows that there is an afterlife.
Did You See The Problem?
The Sadducees had the scripture that told them there was an afterlife…
But because they couldn’t reason in their minds how it could work out…
They abandoned that truth and claimed that there was no afterlife…
Which explains Jesus’ harsh rebuke.
They had the truth,
But they refused to acknowledge it,
Because they didn’t understand the details.
Jesus did give them more details in this passage: he answered how the who marriage thing would work out…
But they shouldn’t have needed that detail to trust God.
They should be able to trust that God,
The maker of the universe,
Could solve a simple “problem” with the resurrection
Even if He didn’t tell them about it.
And, here lies the problem that Jesus has with their question:
They ignored the scriptures that clearly said there was a resurrection,
And they ignored the power of God that He could work out what He said was true.
The Sadducees couldn’t simply trust God without knowing all the details,
And so they made up their own details,
And ended up not believing what God had clearly said.
They had created a system that “disproved” how the resurrection could even be possible, and ended up ignoring that God said it was so.
Contradiction Or Paradox
The problem with the Sadducees, and ourselves today, is that we tend to mix up contradictions and paradoxes.
A contradiction is where two things cannot be the true at the same time.
A paradox is where two things SEEM to not be able to be true at the same time, but it shows to be true after further examination and information.
Much of what God tells us seems to be a paradox.
It is things we can’t understand right now,
But we tend to understand with 20/20 hindsight vision.
But too often, like the Sadducees, we incorrectly take God’s paradoxes for contradictions and forget that we can trust God even when we don’t know the details.
Trust God, Even When You Don’t Know the Details
We have the opportunity to learn from the mistake of the Sadducees.
They knew God’s Word, but put their own logic above what God clearly said,
They read and heard of God’s power, but were quick to forget that the God Who created everything was also capable sorting it all out too.
We don’t have to fall into the same trap.
We can take God at His Word,
And when He cares to share the details: that’s great!
And when He chooses to keep the details hidden,
We can trust Him in that too.
There are many “details” in life we simply don’t have answers to.
Even theological details…
There is simply so much we don’t know.
And there is much we still ought to seek out and try to learn,
But at the end of the day:
We need to trust God has said to be true, even when when don’t know the details just yet.