Mar 27, 2016
Many people in our culture believe that the universe and all that is in it is the result of natural forces acting over billions of years to produce life as we experience it today. One of the implications of evolution is that we are simply physical beings and when we die physically, we cease to exist. There is no afterlife, no heaven, no hell, no God. These beliefs don't surprise us; they are logical conclusions of evolution.
What may be surprising are the people we're going to meet in our study this morning. They were theists, they believed in the existence of God. They served in God's Temple and spiritually led the nation of Israel in the days of Jesus. But they, like evolutionists today, believed that when a person died physically, they ceased to exist. They did not believe in an afterlife and they certainly didn't believe in that which we are celebrating today - the resurrection.
Before we meet these people, let's put our passage in its historical context. Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover 33A.D. (11:1-11). Three times Jesus foretold that this journey would result in His rejection, murder and resurrection (8:31, 9:30-32, 10:32-34). He specifically predicted that the chief priests, elders and scribes of Israel would reject Him and hand Him over to the gentiles (Romans) to be executed (8:31, 10:33). Mark records three occasions on which the chief priests, elders and scribes or their representatives attempted to trap Jesus (11:27-33; 12:13-27). In this third attempt, they sent a delegation from the party of the Sadducees.