Stating the Obvious.

We stood staring out across the vast blue Pacific. Our panorama from the nineteenth-floor balcony was breathtaking. I’d grown somewhat accustomed to the spectacle but could tell my visiting friend was awestruck. She gazed intently at the water below us and puzzled over something she saw. Her hand directed my gaze to multiple dark patches in the ocean and she asked, “What makes those … are they schools of fish?” She then turned intently awaiting my answer. I was almost too stunned to speak … concerned about how she would feel when I answered. I stammered out what seemed obvious to me … “Those are shadows from the clouds.” As I expected, her face flushed with chagrin. The truth is, anyone who only looked down and not up, could have made the same mistake.

Jesus ran into people who were only looking down and not up. They were called the Sadducees. They made up about half of the religious elite among the Jewish leaders. Like their counterparts, the Pharisees, the Sadducees were students of the Jewish Scriptures. Unlike the Pharisees, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Somehow, they had explained away verses from their Bible like these …

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

Or … Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:2–3

One day the Sadducees put a logical conundrum to Jesus which they believed proved the idea of the resurrection preposterous. Jesus responded, Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken! Mark 12:26–27

Whether it changed their minds, the Sadducees’ chagrin silenced further verbal attacks on Jesus. They had missed a simple but profound argument for life after death. It was floating there right on the surface of the scrolls they knew so well. But their reasoning was earthbound and so … inattentive to the voice of God. Long after the deaths of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Yahweh declared … I am their God. Rejoice in the obvious! God is the God of the living and not the dead!