Do you know the Scriptures and the Power of God?
July 18, 2021 Speaker: Brian Wilbur Series: The Gospel of Mark
Topic: Biblical Worldview Passage: Mark 12:18–27
DO YOU KNOW THE SCRIPTURES AND THE POWER OF GOD?
An Exposition of Mark 12:18-27
By Pastor Brian Wilbur
Date: July 18, 2021
Series: Mark: Knowing and Following God’s Son
Note: Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Good morning. I invite you to turn to the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 12. Fasten your seatbelts, because we've got a challenging passage in front of us. It's going to a bumpy ride up into the mountains of scriptural truth. But if we hang in there, we'll get some beautiful views at the summit – views which are encouraging to us in our walk with the Lord.
Do you know the Scriptures and the power of God? Do you know God's Word and God's power? Do you know his pure and perfect words, and his mighty and powerful works? Do you live your life on the basis of God's will revealed in Scripture and on the basis of God's power to do what he has promised to do? Most people do not live this way. Most people think and live within the limited framework of human wisdom and human power. And that is what the Sadducees did, which we will learn about. But Jesus calls his followers to live in the expansive framework of God's wisdom and God's power. Which path are you on? Which framework is shaping your life?
THE SCRIPTURAL TEXT
Let me read Mark 12:18-27. Holy Scripture says:
18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.” (Mark 12:18-27)
This is God's holy Word, and it is for our good. Let's pray.
Father, I pray that the living and abiding Word of God would have its way in our hearts and our minds this morning. And we pray that you would transform us. Open our eyes by the power of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
WE MEET THE SADDUCEES (v. 18)
This passage unfolds in three parts. First, we meet the Sadducees. Second, we hear the Sadducees question to Jesus. And then third, we receive Jesus’ answer to their question. So, let's walk through the passage.
In verse 18, we meet the Sadducees. The Sadducees were a distinct group within first-century Judaism. They tended to be cultural and religious elites. They were influential within the Sanhedrin, Judaism's ruling body. They ran in priestly social circles (see Acts 5:17-18). They did not believe in the future resurrection of those who died, as Mark tells us in verse 18. In this regard, they were very different from the Pharisees. Acts 23:8 says, “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.”
Mark 12:18 and Acts 23:8 indicate that the Sadducees had an anti-supernatural bent. They did not believe in a future resurrection. They did not believe in a future final judgment. They believed that a man's soul died when his body died. End of story. They were men of the world – this present world – and they lived and thought as men who cared about this present life, the here and the now. They were religious, but theirs was a secularized religion, a utilitarian religion. They cared about their position, power and influence within first-century Judaism. They recognized the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, as authoritative. But they granted less authority to the prophetic writings and the Psalms. Hang on to this information, because it is going to come up later.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were distinct and different groups within first-century Israel, but their spiritual DNA is characteristic of perennial impulses in the human heart. Where you find so-called Christian people, believing many of the right things and caring deeply about doing what is right to the point of meticulous attention to proper conduct and adding their own rules on top of God's commands, and keeping their distance from rule-breakers – there you have modern-day Pharisees. On the other hand, where you find so-called Christian people who turn certain biblical teachings into mere ethics and tactics for social change and political movements and economic theory and cultural influence, but they reject the Bible's supernatural teaching and eternal perspective – there you have modern-day Sadducees. Pharisees and Sadducees have this in common: they both need to be born again. Jesus said to a Pharisee, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
SOME SADDUCEES ASK JESUS A QUESTION (v. 19-23)
Moving to verses 19-23, we see that some Sadducees ask Jesus a question. Their question is designed to mock the belief in future resurrection and to put Jesus on his heels. In the presence of Jesus, however, what their question actually does is expose their own foolishness. Their question shows that they are strangers to the kingdom of God.
Their question is built on instruction that is found in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. I'm not going to turn there or read that passage, but that is the passage that the Sadducees are referring to. If a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, then the brother who was still alive was to demonstrate love for his brother and for his brother's name and for his brother's legacy by marrying his widow and raising up a child that would bear her original husband's name – a great act of brotherly love. So, the Sadducees invent this fanciful scenario where there are seven brothers, and each in turn has the same childless widow as a wife, and then they are all dead. And then they ask: In the resurrection, when everyone is alive again (keeping in mind that the Sadducees don't actually believe this will happen), whose wife will she be? Tricky, sneaky, clever. Remember, the Sadducees do not believe in the resurrection. They don't believe that these seven brothers and the woman will rise again. So what their question means is that in their view, the apparent complexity of this hypothetical situation is an argument against the resurrection. They are thinking that since the resurrection would create such maddening complexities, as this one about the woman with seven husbands, the resurrection must not be a real thing.
What the Sadducees are doing here is very sad, by the way. These smug, self-assured, country club loving Sadducees, impressed by their own cleverness and with a smile on their face, actually think that they are outwitting the teacher. But their question is childish. If inquisitive young children had asked the question, that would be one thing – that would be a teachable moment. But these are grown men thinking like fools.
JESUS ANSWERS THE SADDUCEES’ FOLLY (v. 24-27)
Jesus answers the Sadducees’ folly in verses 24-27. And in his answer, he emphasizes how wrong they are.
Look at verse 24. Verse 24 begins with Jesus speaking, “Is this not the reason you are wrong…? And then verse 27 ends, “You are quite wrong.” This is fascinating. When we think about assessing someone as right or wrong, we often think in terms of assessing their answer to a question. But the Sadducees weren't answering a question. There were the ones asking the question. Nevertheless, it is not their place to assess Jesus, but the other way around. Jesus assesses them. And Jesus assesses us.
Jesus sees through the smoke screen of their question to their hearts and their minds. He knows that they disbelieve in the resurrection, and he knows that their question is designed to promote their disbelief. Thus, he speaks to the heart of their unbelief. “You are quite wrong.”
In verse 24, Jesus proceeds to tell them the reason they are wrong. Then, in verse 25, he describes the nature of the resurrection. Then, in verses 26-27, he proclaims the certainty of the resurrection. So let's tackle these one at a time.
The Reason the Sadducees Are Wrong (v. 24)
In verse 24, Jesus tells the Sadducees the reason they are wrong. It is difficult to overemphasize how important verse 24 is. Here Jesus draws the dividing line between those who know God and those who don't. Jesus draws the line between those who are on the right track and those who are on the wrong track. Jesus says to the Sadducees, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?”
Could there be a more damning indictment? They are elites within Israel, but they don't know the Scriptures and they don't know the power of God. They are religious and move in priestly circles, but they are ignorant of God's Word and God's power. They claim to believe Moses and the first five books associated with Moses, but they don't really know the sacred writings and they don't really grasp the power and strength of almighty God.
What about you? There are many churchgoers and many church leaders in our land who should hear verse 24 as a word to them personally: you are wrong and you are far down the wrong track, because you do not know the Scriptures and you do not know the power of God.
Although in the context of verses 24-27, the statement “you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” means you don't know God's Word and God's power with respect to the doctrine of the resurrection, it applies to their fundamentally wrongheaded approach to all of life. If they knew the Scriptures and the power of God in general, then they would know how to think rightly about the resurrection. If they knew the Scriptures and the power of God in general, then they wouldn't come up with clever arguments to use against the resurrection. If you know the Scriptures and the power of God, then you will keep your feet on the highway of righteousness, but if you don't then you won't.
Know the Scriptures
Let me ask you again: Do you think and live on the basis of God's written Word and his incomparable power? Is that the basis of your life? According to Psalm 19, God's Word is perfect and sure, right and pure, clean and true, more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey. Scripture revives the soul, makes the simple wise, enlightens the eyes, and satisfies the heart. In keeping God's word there is great reward. Furthermore, “All Scripture is breathed out by God” and is “profitable” for our spiritual health (2 Timothy 3:16). And 2 Timothy 3:15 tells us that “the sacred writings… are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ.”
Know God’s Power
And what about God's incomparable power? The creation itself testifies to “his eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20). “In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.” (Psalm 95:4) He calls every star “by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26). His power is unable to be resisted. The Lord says, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39). Every sinner on the face of the earth will either be ruined or redeemed by the power of God. Exodus 15 tells us that by his great power, God hurled Pharaoh and his army into the sea, and that by his same power he redeemed the children of Israel and brought them to his holy abode. The same power ruins and redeems.
Know the Power of God’s Word
Although the Scriptures and the power of God are not identical concepts, there is a strong connection between God's Word (written or spoken) and God's power. God spoke the universe into existence (Genesis 1). God's instruction is like streams of water that make believers healthy and fruitful (Psalm 1). Jesus upholds the universe by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus “commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” (Mark 1:27). Jesus commands the wind and the sea, and they also obey him (Mark 4:39-41). “[The] word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) This gospel message is “the living and abiding word of God” which creates spiritual life in a sinner's heart (1 Peter 1:23-25).
Do you know the Scriptures and the power of God? Does God's Word and God's power carry you? “[Man] does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3; see also Matthew 4:4) Is that your life, or are you a stranger to such a life? In Mark 7, Jesus blasted the Pharisees because they rejected God's Word in order to establish their own tradition. Now in Mark 12, Jesus blasts the Sadducees for not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God.
Poor Sadducees! They knew the power of rank, the power of influence, the power of wealth, the power of man-powered religion, the power of the Sanhedrin, the power of Rome. They were pro-Roman sympathizers - you might as well be in league with the powers that be. But they didn't know the power of God. They were blind to it, they didn't know it in their own experience, and it didn't hold sway in their approach to life. For the Sadducees, God was like the seven brothers in their fanciful tale: weak and unable to produce life. And I'm speaking spiritual words to spiritual ears. How many people live with no expectation of a merciful and almighty God coming through for them, whether now or in eternity? For such people, the Bible is a closed book and God's power is far-off, and so they are left with only human wisdom and human power.
The Nature of Resurrection Life (v. 25)
In verse 25, Jesus briefly describes the nature of resurrection life: “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Remember something: the problem with the Sadducees’ question is not the question itself but their unbelieving mindset behind the question and their use of the question as an argument against the resurrection. I can imagine someone, somewhere, at some time who really does know the Scriptures and the power of God – but is ignorant concerning the nature of resurrection life and the life of the age to come – and they wonder, ‘Is there marriage in the eternal state?’ And if someone has had more than one spouse on earth, they might ask, ‘What are the implications of that (having had multiple spouses) for life in the new heaven and the new earth? I can imagine someone asking that kind of question in good faith, but they would also have the mindset that is able to say, ‘I trust God, I know his character, I know his power. I am confident that the Lord will work it all out. This situation envisioned by the Sadducees is not going to stump the Almighty. He will sort it out in a way that is good and right and satisfying to his people.’ Yes, I can imagine someone having that line of thought in their head.
In fact, however, there is no marriage in the age to come. This is what Jesus teaches in verse 25. Marriage pertains to this present – ‘till death do us part.’ Death terminates the marriage covenant (see Romans 7:2-4). Therefore, everyone who has departed this present life is, after their departure from this life, unmarried. In the resurrection age, men will not marry, and women will not be given in marriage. They will be like the angels in heaven. This doesn't mean that we will be like the angels in every respect. This doesn't mean that human beings will cease to be male and female. But it does mean that those who are blessed to share in the glory of the resurrection age will not be paired off in marriage, which is like the angels because the angels in heaven are not paired off in marriage. And the rebellious angels who left their proper habitation in order to marry the daughters of men (see Genesis 6:1-4) – they got into big trouble (see Jude 6)!
All that said, there will actually be one glorious marriage in the eternal age. Jesus the bridegroom loved his bride “the church and gave himself up for her… so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25, 27) The church will be unblemished, holy, glorified and united to her bridegroom forever. Scripture says, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19:9)
The Certainty of Resurrection Life (v. 26-27)
Let's move to verses 26-27. The most important issue in this passage is not the absence of human marriages in the age to come, but the certainty that the resurrection will actually take place. And so, in verses 26-27, Jesus proclaims the certainty of the resurrection. Verse 26 begins, “And as for the dead being raised” – which indicates that this is the issue that he is about to tackle.
But before we get to the instruction, some additional background is in order. I already alluded to it earlier. One of the problems that the Sadducees had is that they did not hold the Psalms, the Wisdom Writings, and the Prophetic Writings in the same high regard as they held the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. One of the reasons that the Sadducees didn't truly know the Scriptures is that they didn't devote themselves to all the Scriptures. They didn't honor the authority of Daniel 12:2, which says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” They didn't honor the authority of Isaiah 26:19, which says, “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.” They didn't honor the authority of Ecclesiastes 12:14, which says, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” It is difficult to make sense of a passage like that without a final judgment that issues in rewards and punishments. So, one of the lessons hidden in our passage is that you need to know all the Scriptures – nothing more, nothing less. If you take away from God's written Word like the Sadducees did, or if you add to it like the Pharisees did, then you’re going to get into big trouble.
Even so, what is really interesting about Jesus’ answer in verses 26-27 is that he doesn't refer to one of the obvious resurrection passages in the prophets. He could have, but he doesn't. Instead what does he do? He refers to a passage from the book of Exodus, which is one of the books whose authority the Sadducees acknowledged. He is speaking to them in terms they can understand, at least at some level. Jesus is very specific as he continues in verse 26: “have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?”
Jesus directs our attention to Exodus 3:1-6. The Lord appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.” “The bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.” (v. 2) “God called to [Moses] out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”” (v. 4) Moses replied, “Here I am.” (v. 4) “Then [God] said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And [God] said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”” (v. 5-6)
Now the obvious question is: how does this statement from Exodus 3:6 teach that the dead will be raised? How does this declaration teach the doctrine of the resurrection? After quoting from Exodus 3:6 in Mark 12:26, Jesus gets to the point in the next verse, Mark 12:27, when he says, “He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”
Unpacking the Rich Theology of Mark 12:26-27 and Exodus 3:1-6
Now bear with me here – this is really rich stuff, like so much of what Jesus says. Jesus is inviting us to open our eyes and to see the rich tapestry of redeeming grace that runs through the Scriptures. When God spoke to Moses in Exodus 3, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead for hundreds of years. So the question is: are they actually dead or are they alive? Well, they are physically dead. They have not yet been physically resurrected, but they are not mere corpses – as if all that Abraham was is now just decomposed dust. Abraham's body was dead, but Abraham's soul was alive to God. Before he died, Abraham was in covenant relationship with the Lord. And after he died, Abraham did not cease to be in covenant relationship with the Lord. Abraham remained alive to God.
There was a man whose name was Enoch. He “walked with God” (Genesis 5:24) and then “he was not found” (Hebrews 11:5) because “God took him” (Genesis 5:24). Thus Enoch did not suffer physical death (Hebrews 11:5). There was another man whose name was Elijah: he never died because the Lord took him straightaway to heaven (2 Kings 2:11). Surely it's not only Enoch and Elijah who have some existence after their earthly lives. What is true for Enoch and Elijah must be true for all of God's faithful people.
And although to be human it is not necessary to be married (as Jesus teaches in verse 25), to be truly human it is necessary to be embodied, because that's what it means to be a human being. A human being is an embodied soul. If Abraham lives, he must be raised at some point. His embodied-ness must be restored.
But there is more to what's going on here, and it strikes at the heart of what you believe about God and his promises and his power to keep his promises. When God says to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”, he is identifying himself as the God who makes promises. God makes promises to and enters into covenant with the people he redeems. And the question is: Is he trustworthy, so as to be faithful to his promises? Is he powerful, so as to be able to keep his promises? God made several promises to Abraham. Listen carefully to a couple of them, because this is really important. First, I'm going to read from Genesis 13:
“The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)
And then in Genesis 17, God says to Abraham:
“And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:7-8)
Did you notice that God promised the land not only to Abraham's descendants, but to Abraham: “I will give it to you” (Genesis 13:17) and “I will give to you… all the land of Canaan” (Genesis 17:8). But did Abraham ever receive it? No, he didn’t. So, when will Abraham receive what was promised to him? Is God faithful to keep his promises? Is he able to keep his promises? Of course! Abraham will receive what was promised in the age of the resurrection. This promise of a future inheritance that is not received until after death and after resurrection is not peripheral to true faith. It was central to Abraham's deliberate and conscious faith. Do you know Hebrews 11? Hebrews 11 says:
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:8-16)
The patriarchs did not receive what was promised to them. Will they receive it? Yes, because God is faithful and he will raise them from the dead. And so, when God comes to Moses in Exodus 3, he is saying: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. I am in covenant with them. I have standing promises to them and to their descendants. And these promises shall be fulfilled. I am God Almighty and I will do it.
I want to approach verses 26-27 from one more angle, and then make a brief application. Think about it this way – and what I am about to share here was inspired by William Lane: If God is the Savior of his people, if he redeems his people and forgives their sins and brings them into fellowship with himself, then it is unthinkable that he won't undo death, which is the consequence of sin and the symbol of alienation from God. If God says to you what he said to Abraham – “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great” (Genesis 15:1) and “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless, that I make my covenant between me and you” (Genesis 17:1-2) and if “in [Abraham] all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3) – then it is a very weak and lame set of promises if they all end in death for everyone. Remember, death is not natural. Death is the imposition of judgment by God on humanity, on account of sin. Will God leave the sign of his judgment on the very people that he has redeemed and brought into his gracious covenant?
Now I just have to share the following quotation with you, because it is just so beautiful to me. William Lane, who inspired the comments I made in the above paragraph, wrote: “If God has assumed the task of protecting the patriarchs from misfortune during the course of their life, but fails to deliver them from that supreme misfortune which marks the definitive and absolute check upon their hopes, his protection is of little value. But it is inconceivable that God would provide for the patriarchs some partial tokens of deliverance and leave the final word to death, of which all the misfortunes and sufferings of human existence are only a foretaste. If the death of the patriarchs is the last word of their history, there has been a breach of the promises of God guaranteed by the covenant, and of which the formula “the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob” is the symbol. It is in fidelity to his covenant that God will resurrect the dead.”
LIVE IN THE POWER AND GLORY OF JESUS’ RESURRECTION
Brothers and sisters, the glory appointed for Jesus is not to be the king over an endless succession of people who died. That is not the glory appointed for Jesus. The glory appointed for Jesus is to be the Redeemer from A to Z: to make atonement for sin, to break the power of death, and to raise up people who will share in his glory and live with him forever. And I ask you this question: Do you know the Scriptures and the power of God? Do you know the power of Christ's resurrection and the promise of your future resurrection? Because it is key to living the life that Jesus calls you to live.
Jesus calls you to lay down everything, to leave everything, and to give your life entirely for his sake and for the gospel’s sake (Mark 8:34-35, Mark 10:29-30). This is what Jesus has been telling us over and over again in Mark, Chapters 8 through 10. He calls us to leave behind houses and lands and family and money and everything else, and to follow Him. Why would you do that? Why would you leave everything else in order to follow Jesus. And Jesus says that if you leave everything for his sake, then one of the things that you will get in this life is “persecutions” (Mark 10:30). Why would you set out on this path of persecution and suffering? Why would you do that? And how will you do that? Be sure of this: you will not be able to stay on the path of discipleship, if you do not know the power of Jesus’ resurrection. The Apostle Paul said that his sufferings were designed to teach him, not to rely on himself “but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).
And you will not be sustained on the path of discipleship, if you just think it's all about this present life. There is a future reward, there is eternal life, there is unhindered fellowship with God and with his people forever, and that is your great reward that stands out in front of you. How will you stay faithful to Jesus in China? How will you stay faithful to Jesus on a college campus? How will you stay faithful to Jesus as persecution rises in our own country? You won't stay faithful unless you know the Scriptures and the power of God. You won’t persevere on the path of discipleship unless you know the power of the risen Christ and the promise of your future resurrection.
Father, your Word says that many will come from the east and the west and dine with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God. We look forward to that day. We look forward to that day when death is swallowed up forever, and when we banquet with the Lord and with one another forever. The Sadducees did not believe that you were a faithful and powerful promise-keeper. I pray that we would not fall into their error. Grant that we would live all of life fixing our eyes on you and trusting you as the faithful God and the almighty God and the powerful God who will keep your promises. Grant us such courage and strength and willingness to sacrifice and lay it all down for Jesus’ sake and the gospel’s sake and the mission’s sake, that there would be a great harvest right here in the Oxford Hills. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
 See William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark (The New International Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974: p. 430.
 William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark (The New International Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974: p. 430.
James R. Edwards, The Gospel according to Mark (The Pillar New Testament Commentary). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
France, R. T. The Gospel of Mark (The New International Greek Testament Commentary). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark (The New International Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974.
Eckhard J. Schnabel, Mark (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries Vol. 2). Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2017.
James W. Voelz, Mark 8:27–16:20 (Concordia Commentary). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2019.
Ben Witherington III, The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.
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