19 “Teacher,” they* said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection, whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”
The Sadducees were a small group of wealthy and influential people in Jesus’ day, who believed there was no resurrection and cleaved to Mosaic law (the first five books of the modern Bible). They come to Jesus in this passage, asking him a riddle-like question about the status of marriage after the resurrection…but their intent is not to learn. Instead, they want to trip Jesus up, because they don’t believe in the resurrection anyway and they want to confound this supposed “Son of God” with Scriptural law thrown back in His face.
But Jesus replies with a common-sense answer the Sadducees were definitely not expecting. He tells them that after the resurrection, life will be very, very different for all believers–they will be “like the angels,” having fellowship with God, and as such, marriage and other worldly issues will be of little concern. The Sadducees’ question is thus exposed for the shallow, misguided query that it is.
Many times throughout the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), various groups of people try to test Jesus’ knowledge of Scripture, to try to expose him as a fake and prove that He is not really the Son of God. In each circumstance, as in this one, Jesus proves He not only knows the written Scripture, but knows the heavenly truths which inspired it. He doesn’t just quote tiny bits of Scripture for wisdom or life guidance–He knows how all the Scriptures fit together to depict God and His plan for humanity.
Today, even established Christians can begin to question Jesus or test Him, trying to determine whether He is who He says He is. We can worry ourselves to distraction over small bits of Scripture taken way out of context. But as Jesus proves here, only knowing bits of the Scripture and using that to question God’s identity and nature won’t help you “prove” anything–it’s knowing the full gestalt of the Bible, how all the Scriptures fit together, plus your own faith, that gives you peace.