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Daily Devotional for December 11

December 11                                              Matthew 22:23-33

The Sadducees must have been a real trial to Jesus! Political
and social conservatives and Biblical literalists, they were legal
purists who accepted only the Pentateuch, the five books of
Moses. The fact that they also favored cooperation with Rome,
lived off the offerings people made to the Temple, and prided
themselves on being the intelligentsia, all made them folks
whom it was hard to love.

In today's passage, they test Jesus about resurrection. A woman
has been passed childless from brother to brother as each dies,
as required by the law. All seven brothers die, and then the
woman dies. Who gets to be married to her in the resurrection?
The poor Sadducees, trying to play "how-many-husbands-do-
you-get-in-heaven?" It is the old game of those who read too
literally, and Jesus finesses it brilliantly. Jesus begins his
response to the Sadducees by saying, "You are wrong," even
though they had not stated their position on the question. He
is saying that their whole perspective on Scriptural interpreta-
tion is in error. They have concentrated so much on the
interesting but secondary details of Scripture that they have
ended up knowing "neither the Scriptures nor the power of

Jesus is telling the Sadducees - and us today - to keep the
central message of Scripture in mind when interpreting specific
messages. If an interpretation contradicts that central message,
then it is probably wrong.

The central message of Scripture is God's power and love and
our salvation. If we lose ourselves in theological controver-
sies, no matter how interesting, then we, too, are wrong.

    Giver of Wisdom, keep me focused on you so that the
                    details of life make sense. Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989  

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