Nov. 9,2007; The Series - Jesus, Unique & Unequaled Teacher

Focus Text: Matthew 16.29-32

Jesus said to the Sadducees, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22.29). We are limiting our comments to the first of His two charges, i.e., “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures…”

I was mistaken once when I failed to properly follow directions to a restaurant; I was also mistaken not long ago when I failed to read the time correctly. The Sadducees were mistaken, but in an entirely different way. The word that Jesus used is one which has far more serious implications than the mistakes to which I just made reference. According to Thayer’s, this word means, “…to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way; to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive; to be led into error; to be led aside from the path of virtue, to go astray, sin; to sever or fall away from the truth; of heretics; to be led away into error and sin.” So it was not a social faux pas; their error was one which could condemn them eternally should they fail to correct it.

The unique thing about Jesus was that He NEVER detracted from the authority of Scripture, regardless of how much others attempted to detract from Him or from it. In fact, He did just the opposite; He always held the Scriptures up as the very word of God and defended that position in all that He did and said. The error of which the Sadducees were guilty was not God’s fault; the responsibility clearly rested on their shoulders. Perhaps some said the scriptures were hard to understand; maybe others argued that since the scriptures had been passed down through so many hands and copied so frequently, they just weren’t entirely sure that they had the word just as it was originally delivered to the Old Testament prophets. That generation probably had every argument against the authority and authenticity of the Bible the current generation has, yet Jesus (paraphrasing) said because they didn’t know the Scriptures, “You are guilty!”

One final thought as we close this miniseries; The Sadducees did not KNOW the Scriptures. As introduced yesterday, this meant that they, in this case, failed to grasp this all important fact: The truth of any matter consists of all the Scripture says on the matter, and not just one passage. They picked one passage and from it incorrectly inferred that the resurrection could not be true. Jesus, on the other hand, turned to a couple of other passages (Exodus 3.6,3.15) and showed that their interpretation was wrong; it was in conflict with the passages He cited. Jesus correctly saw the implication of the words spoken to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” The implication was and is, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” To put it another way, Jesus as much as said, “There is life after death; a part of man lives on after his body is committed to the ground! Your whole theory of no life after death is flawed!”

Jesus treated detractors in a manner that was consistent with the conditions that led to their error. However, He never ever allowed the banner of truth to be lowered due to any one’s error; His love for truth and hatred for error is unequalled in all of human history!


1. If Jesus had been unable to answer the Sadducees question about the woman in eternity and whose wife she would be, would it have proven the Sadducees case? THINK!!

2. If you or I fail to answer a biblical detractor’s charges, does that disprove any truth of the Bible? Why or why not?

3. If God was the God of Abraham at the time He spoke to Moses, what does that say about the state of Abraham 325 years after his death? Did he exist? Was he alive? What does that show about the theory of the Sadducees that there is no life after death?

4. Here is a real stumper: Can inferences be wrong? Can implications ever be wrong?