And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, “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 widow and raise up offspring for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 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 12:18-27 ESV)
“Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” How truly Jesus spoke about we who consider ourselves religious! This generation is nearly bankrupt in these two things. As recently as 1980, 40% of people in The United States attended church on a regular basis. Today that number has dropped to around 20% nationally, and much lower here in the Northeast. We have been through a generation, since 1945, where a great emphasis was placed on Christian Education. From Catholic churches offering CCD to independent churches hosting vast teaching conferences, we all believed that the answer to spiritual growth was education. Teach people the right things, and they will know the Lord.
If that had been true, we should have seen a huge revival! But the church in many places today has huge underutilized educational facilities with few people in attendance who really know either the Scriptures or the power of God. The problem is that we weren’t taught the Way.
Jesus said, “I am the Way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” (John 10:10) The early church taught narrative. They taught Jesus in his person and life. Our churches today have largely been teaching doctrine and ignoring the stories. That was what was wrong with the Sadducees. That is what is wrong with many of us today. We may know a lot of truth about God, but our knowledge of God himself is pretty shallow, if not non-existent.
Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have life, and it is they that bear witness to me.” (John 5:39) To truly know the Scriptures is to know Jesus, first and foremost. And in Luke 8:46 a woman with an affliction was healed just because she touched Jesus clothing. When she did, the text says, “he knew that power had gone out from him.” When he was on trial Jesus said he had the power to lay down his life and to take it up again. To truly know the power of God is to know Jesus, first and foremost.
Jesus is not dead. He is alive. All who live to God live to God in him.