Sadducees and resurrection
Stained glass windows in church buildings often show a sequence of events in the life of Jesus. These debates with religious leaders in the last few days of readings paint a picture of the sequence of Jesus’ life and death for us. First there was the question of authority raised by the triumphal entry and clearing of the temple. The reply was to go back to John the Baptist and see whether he really was a true prophet. Then Jesus taught the parable of the vineyard owner and the tenants, highlighting that Jesus has come as the last of the prophets and will be killed. Then there was the ‘who gets the taxes?’ question which points to Jesus being handed to the Romans for death. Today we come to questions about the resurrection. It all adds up to a summary of the Gospel.
That’s not a knife…
I love the moment in Crocodile Dundee when a hoodlum pulls a flick-knife on Crocodile Dundee and so Dundee pulls out his machete with the words “That’s not a knife, this is a knife”. It ends the argument. Jesus does that with a quote and question from Psalm 110:1. Matthew informs us that from this time on no one dared to ask Jesus a question (Matthew 22:46). The debate was over.
Jesus warns the people of these false teachers (check out Sunday’s sermon – How to spot false teachers). Saying they love to devour the poor; they are money grabbing exploiters, flying in on their private jets to poor countries and preaching for as long to get the offering as they do for their main sermon.
The widow’s mite
We often use this story to encourage people to give, assuring that God will use the widow’s small offering as much as the big sums others put in. In the context though, Jesus is illustrating his warning. The rich religious leaders like to make a show of their giving and at the same time exploit the poor to give more than they are able.
Money, sex and power are dangerous lures for leaders.
Jesus has raised the stakes pretty high and so we are one chapter away from those leaders killing him, thinking they have won, but actually losing.