The Fact of The Resurrection (Mark 12:18-27)

The Fact of the Resurrection Mark 12:18-27

The Crux of Christianity

The truth of Christ’s teaching in this portion is the wonderful hope of every believer in Jesus Christ. The certainty that this life is not all there is. The fact of the resurrection from the dead. Thomas Watson, said:

“We are more sure to arise out of our graves than out of our beds.”

It is a great hope for believers to know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.[1] After God formed man from the dust of the earth He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.[2] When man fell into sin, God said:

“Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”[3]

Ecclesiastes says that when a person dies:

“The dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”[4]

Job acknowledged this:

“Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another…”[5]

Isaiah said:

“Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.”[6]

Daniel declared:

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”[7]

Christianity lives or dies on the resurrection.[8] If there is no resurrection from the dead Christ has not been raised, which means our preaching is vain and our faith is worthless. If Christ has not actually been raised we are still dead in our sins, and those who died trusting in Christ have perished:

“If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

The matter of the resurrection is a critical one. In a sense it is not merely Christianity that lives or dies on the reality of the resurrection from the dead, but the unbeliever as well. Christians are of all people most to be pitied if there is no resurrection, but unbelievers are eternally doomed if there is one.


II.) The Sadducees

Based on Old Testament passages like Job, Isaiah, and Daniel, it was common belief among the Jews that there would be a resurrection of the dead. This is evident when Martha spoke with Jesus after her brother Lazarus had been dead for four days:

“Martha then said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die…”[9]

This view, however, was not held by all. In our text this morning Jesus Christ is confronted by the aristocrats of the time, the Sadducees. They were a Jewish religious party that was very wealthy and of high ranking order among the Jews. In fact, the high priestly families belonged to the Sadducean party, and they held nearly all the authority over matters of the temple.[10] The temple, by the way, that Jesus ransacked in the previous context.[11]

They were unpopular with the people, which was most likely do to their ruthless use of the Law. They rejected the oral traditions of men and believed the written Law of God alone was obligatory on the nation of Israel. Unlike the Pharisees, who neglected the commandment of God and held to the tradition of men.[12] They were conservative in their use of Moses writings believing them to be of divine revelation and superior to the rest of the Old Testament writings. Though they were conservative in their use of divine revelation, they were liberal in their theological interpretation of it. They denied the immortality of the soul, the existence of spirits and angels, and as Mark points out:

“Say that there is no resurrection.”

They were annihilationist’s, which means they believed they ceased to exist after death. This led them to reject the idea of retribution after death when people stand before God and are judged:

“Every one of them according to their deeds.”[13]

Some from this sect have now come to Jesus to question Him, and like the Pharisees previously, they do not actually care about the truth. After Jesus disrupted their operation in the temple:

“The chief priests and the scribes…began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.”[14]

After Jesus spoke The Parable of the Vine-growers against them:

“They were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared thepeople…so they left Him, and went away. And they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodian’s to Him, in order to trap Him in  a statement.”[15]

The Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus, but the Sadducees wanted to make Jesus look incompetent and ridiculous among the people who loved Him. Their intention here is to ask Jesus an absurd question hoping to reveal the silliness of the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead. Christ; however, is going to put them to silence, expose their ignorance, and send them away from the crowds as fools.[16]


III.) Ignorance Exposed

Since Job, Isaiah, and Daniel are not the works of Moses, the Sadducees rejected their resurrection references and upheld that Moses never spoke of it. In their attempt to expose the irrationality of the resurrection from the dead they turn to the Law of Moses and ask this question:

 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves behind a wife and leaves no child, his brother should marry the wife and raise up children to his brother. There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children. The second one married her, and died leaving behind no children; and the third likewise; and so all seven left no children. Last of all the woman died also. In the resurrection, when they rise again, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had married her.”[17]

They appeal to Deuteronomy 25:5-6, which was intended to keep inheritances in a family:

“When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.”

The brother would obviously have to be single, which makes the possibility of their scenario nearly impossible. Jesus, immediately points out that they’re wrong:

“Is this not the reason you are mistaken…”[18]

Mistaken meaning, “You have strayed from the truth and turned aside from the right way.”[19]

The reason they are mistaken is that they:

“Do not understand the Scripture or the power of God.”[20]

They think it is absurd to believe in the resurrection. The real absurdity is to believe that God created everything out of nothing but is somehow incapable of resurrecting from the dead those He whom has created. After all it was Moses who wrote about the Omnipotence of God:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”[21]

These men are to be the leaders of Israel and they know neither the Word of God or the power of God. Biblical ignorance will always result in a deviation from the truth.

Jesus then exposes the pointlessness of the question, because when people:

“Rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given to marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”[22]

No, they do not become angels. They will be like angels, and to be like an angel is clearly defined here to mean neither to marry nor be given to marriage. Luke includes another way in which people will be like angels and it is the nature of being immortal:

“Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”[23]


IV.) The God of the Living

Now He did not give them time to respond, for they would have just asserted that there was no such thing as the resurrection of the dead. Their question assumed that the reality of the resurrection was nowhere in the writings of Moses, so they try to use Moses words to expose its absurdity:

“Surly Moses would not have given such a Law if he believed in the resurrection.”

They thought Moses words trumped Him, but Jesus immediately says to them:

“Regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses…”

He exposes their ignorance, and He is about to silence them and send them away fools. He points to the account of the burning bush when Moses wrote about God revealing Himself to him and saying:[24]

“I AM the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have been dead and in the grave for over 400 years, yet God does not say:

“I was the God of Abraham, I was the God of Isaac, and I was the God of Jacob.”

He says in present tense:

“I AM the God of your father.”

The reason God is still the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob is because they are alive today:

“He is not the God of the dead, but of the living…”[25]

He looks at the Sadducees and says:

“You are greatly mistaken.”

Do not be mistaken either on whether there will be a resurrection of the dead. It was eluded to with Moses and confirmed 2,000 years ago with the empty tomb of a rich man. After God gave His Son to be the propitiation for our sins by suffering our guilt and shame, He raised Him for the dead. Proving Jesus is the Son of God and that forgiveness of sins is freely given in His name, and that eternal life will be experienced by all who repent and believe.


V.) The Putting on of Immortality

Jesus Said:

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die…”[26]

Paul says to the Corinthians:

“Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.”[27]

We who have been raised up with Christ have been promised that when Christ is revealed in the end we too shall be revealed with Him in glory.[28]

John says in his first letter:

“We know that when He appears, we shall be like Him.”[29]

Paul says to the Corinthians:

“We shall all be changed.”[30]

We shall be given new glorified bodies:

“That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own…So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable…the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.”[31]

Our glorification is all part of the purpose and plan of God, who:

“Causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”[32]

We who are to be glorified will say:

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”[33]

Death has no power or effect over those who rest solely in Christ Jesus.

Since He lives we too will live in His glory, by His glory, for His glory; and we will enjoy Him forever:

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new…I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.”[34]

The other side to this is that, what is to be to the joy and hope of the believer is to be to the dread and despair of the unbeliever. It ensures that there will be a day when they will stand before the One with whom they have to do.[35] It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God, for He is a consuming fire.[36] He is Holy, righteous, just, and wrathful; and He will by no means allow the guilty to go unpunished:[37]

“It is appointed to man to die once and after this comes judgment.”[38]

Jesus said in the Gospel of John:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”[39]

The good deeds to the resurrection of life is that one believes the Father who sent Christ.[40] The good works necessary for eternal life are that one believes in the Christ whom the Father has sent:[41]

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”[42]

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”[43]

“He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”[44]

The terrifying reality for those who do not have the Son is that when He is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, He will be:

“Dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”[45]

He will destroy both body and soul in hell:[46] It is a place of outer darkness, and a furnace of fire:[47]

“Where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”[48]

“He will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night…”[49]

Annihilation is not on the agenda for the unbeliever, but everlasting torment in the lake of fire after God gives to everyone the wages of their deeds.[50] The resurrection confirms both the hope of glory for the Christian and the eternal destruction that awaits the unbeliever.


VI.) The Pursuit of Purity

I will close with two points of application:

1.) The first point is to “to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus:”

“God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”[51]

Repent and believe the good news of Christ. Turn from your sin and your own righteousness, and put your confidence in Christ’s Person and work.

2.) The second is to us as believers who “know that when He appears, we will be like Him.”

1 John tells us exactly how to live considering that future reality:

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”[52]

In other words, be sanctified:

“Lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”[53]

What was said of the Thessalonians ought to be said of us, how we have:

“Turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”[54]

Grow in His holiness and know:

“that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”[55]


[1] 2 Corinthians 5:8

[2] Genesis 2:7

[3] Genesis 3:17-19

[4] Ecclesiastes 12:7

[5] Job 19:26

[6] Isaiah 26:19

[7] Daniel 12:2

[8] 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

[9] John 11:21-26

[10] Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill Unger; Page 952

[11] Mark 11:15-18

[12] Mark 7:8

[13] Revelation 20:12

[14] Mark 11:18

[15] Mark 12:12-13

[16] Matthew 22:34; Luke 20:39-40

[17] Mark 12:19-23

[18] Mark 12:24a

[19] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number: 4105

[20] Mark 12:24b

[21] Genesis 1:1

[22] Mark 12:25

[23] Luke 20:34-36

[24] Exodus 3:6

[25] Mark 12:

[26] John 11:21-26

[27] 1 Corinthians 6:14

[28] Colossians 3:1,4

[29] 1 John 3:2

[30] 1 Corinthians 15:51

[31] 1 Corinthians 15:36-38,42-44,50,52-53

[32] Romans 8:28-30

[33] 1 Corinthians 15:55; Hosea 13:14

[34] Revelation 21:4-7

[35] Hebrews 4:13

[36] Hebrews 10:31; 12:29

[37] Isaiah 6:3; Deuteronomy 32:4; Nahum 1:2; Exodus 34:7

[38] Hebrews 9:27

[39] John 5:24-29

[40] John 5:24

[41] John 6:29

[42] John 3:16

[43] John 3:36

[44] 1 John 5:12

[45] Acts 17:30-31

[46] Matthew 10:28

[47] Matthew 22:13

[48] Mark 9:48

[49] Revelation 14:10-11

[50] Revelation 20:11-15

[51] 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

[52] 1 John 3:2-3

[53] Hebrews 12:1-2

[54] 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

[55] Philippians 1:6 ��z{��2

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