Biblical Ignorance and Spiritual Impotence

Read: Mark 12

Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” (Mark 12:24, NLT)

Ouch!  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees weren’t the only ones who incurred Jesus’ ire.  This time he went after the Sadducees, pointing out both their ignorance and their impotence.

The Sadducees were a smaller group than the better-known and more popular Pharisees. They were typically the upper crust of Jewish society, the aristocracy, the ruling class—and real religious snobs. Among the many things they believed—or denied—was the resurrection of the human soul after death. That is why they tried to trap Jesus with this question about marriage after the resurrection. The High Priest, along with many of the regular priests belonged to the Sadducees. They were sort of the modern equivalent of the senior pastor and the pastoral staff, or perhaps more likely, they are akin to the religious elite today—denominational leaders, seminary presidents, Bible college professors who deny the inerrancy of Scripture, the deity of Jesus and the supernatural.

In the case of this “difficult conversation” with these Sadducees, Jesus went after the very thing they were most proud of—their authority—rightly pointing out that they had neither a right understanding of the Scripture, and therefore, no right to lead:  “You do not know the Scriptures or the power of God”, or as the Message translation puts it, “You’re way off base, and here’s why: One, you don’t know your Bibles; two, you don’t know how God works.” If Jesus had been born in Fort Worth rather than Bethlehem, he might have said, “Bubba, when it comes to the Bible, you’re all hat and no cattle!”

I don’t want to be like that, and I’m sure you don’t either! As we used to say in Sunday School when I was a little kid, the Sadducees were “sad, you see”, and the reason was exactly what Jesus exposed in them: Biblical ignorance and spiritual impotence. Let’s never allow either our Biblical education or our spiritual position to create a barrier to real knowledge and true power.  The antidote for being either a Sadducee or “sad, you see”, is simple faith in God, childlike openness to his Word, and humble obedience to his will.

“There are Christians today who are very much like the Sadducees of old…Although they claim to be Christian, they do not actually believe in the resurrection, especially the resurrection of Jesus. And to them, doctrines of angels (and demons) are mythical expressions from a primitive mentality. Their form of Christianity has been submitted to modern reason… they are above the common Christian’s simplistic faith.” ~Allen Ross

What If God Took Over?

In matters of faith, belief and practice, go back to what Scripture plainly says and ordinarily means—and obey it!

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