After handling the question of taxes, a new group gives Jesus a controversy to untangle. The Sadducees were a group that only considered the books written by Moses to be inspired Scripture (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). We don’t know much else about them today because none of their own writings survive. They did not believe in a resurrection or afterlife (because Moses never mentioned it), so they pose a question to Jesus that they think makes the common idea of the next life absurd.
The Law of Moses required that a childless widow should be married to her husband’s brother so that his inheritance can be passed down through the family line. Remember that ancient Israel had tribe and clan allotments of land parceled out when they conquered Canaan, and God made several provisions in the Law to make sure these allotments stayed within the same families.
The Sadducees told a hypothetical situation where a woman became widowed seven times through this law and finally died childless. In the next life, who then is she married to? Jesus tells them that the question doesn’t make sense because those who live in the next life are not given in marriage because they cannot die, just like the angels.
Furthermore, Jesus tells them, they are also wrong about there not being a resurrection in the Pentateuch. He reminds them that at the burning bush, the Lord tells Moses He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who had died before Moses was born. But He said “is”, not “was”, implying that the patriarchs were able to have that relationship with Him still.
Help us discern Your ways and understand the future You have planned.