When Jesus came to this earth, he faced a lot of opposition. Different groups were vying for power and one of those was a religious group called the Sadducees. We first hear about the Sadducees during the time of the Maccabees in the 2nd century B.C. The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that they were continually at odds with the other leading religious group, the Pharisees.
You see, the Sadducees only saw the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch or Law, as authoritative. As a result, they had an incomplete view of God’s revelation to man. They didn’t believe in angels or in God’s ongoing care of his creation. To them, God was not the sovereign Lord of the world. Instead everything that happened was just the result of good and evil.
The most depressing and sad part of their theology was that they did not believe in the immortality of the soul. There was no punishment or reward in the afterlife; the soul just died with the body. They had no hope of the resurrection or of a glorified body dwelling with God for eternity. Their misunderstanding of the afterlife is glaring when they seek to stump Jesus in Matthew 22. The Sadducees ask about a woman whose husband dies and who subsequently she marries each of his seven brothers in turn, as each also passes away…whose wife would she be in the afterlife? Jesus’ rebuke is stinging when he tells them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God,” and then he proves it from God’s Word. Not surprisingly, after playing a noisy role during Jesus’ day, they disappear after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.
We hear a lot of noise and face a lot of opposition in our world today regarding the biblical beliefs about what happens after death. But let’s not make the same mistake the Sadducees made by listening to the chatter and ignoring the power of God and his Word. As Christians, we have a confident hope in our resurrection, based on the verified truth of Scripture.