“Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?”

Continuing yesterday’s theme, the next in line to test Jesus are the Sadducees (Mk 12:18-27).  This Jewish sect did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.  So they pose a problem to Jesus about the afterlife: If a woman marries seven times, and all husbands predecease her, whose wife is she after she passes away?  Jesus responds with the line at top and then goes on to say that there is no marriage in heaven.  Jesus goes further to address life after death by quoting Ex 3:6 which tells us that God is the God of all, whether living in this world or the next.  This excerpt gives a very powerful witness to the importance of authority in religious belief.  The Sadducees opposed the Pharisees and disagreed with the majority of Jews on important questions of the afterlife.  So they did not buy into the authority of the high priest, who, recall, even Jesus cited as authoritative in his teaching role (if not exemplary in behavior) (Mt 23:3).  And because the antagonists in this episode considered only the Pentateuch/Torah (the first five books of the Bible) as authentic Scripture, any citing of sola scriptura as the basis of belief would be in error since much of the Bible the Pharisees and some others held as canon was not accepted by them.  But even within the texts that they accept as divine revelation, they misunderstand, as Jesus refutes them from the second book of the Pentateuch.  Jesus established His authority on earth by beginning a church in which He entrusted to Peter and his successors the power of the keys (Mt 16:18-19; cf. 1 Kg 4:1-6, 2 Kg 18:37, Gn 41:39-43, Es 3:1-2, Is 22:15-25).  Lack of authority and sola scriptura contribute mightily to lack of Christian unity (tens of thousands of denominations – a number that is growing, literally, daily) which opposes Jesus fervent prayer for the opposite (Jn 17:20-21).  Let us join in Jesus’ prayer for unity and continuously strive to learn more about, and understand better, that Faith which is safeguarded by the legitimate authority established by God on earth which is worthy of respect and obedience for that reason.

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