The Truth About How To Find The Truth
Who in the world would not want to understand the truth? Everybody wants what they believe to be the truth, don't they? No one would purposely believe a lie, would they? Sad truth is, of course they would. In fact, sometimes people struggle very hard to make what is not true appear to be true. I wish I had a nickel for every page of commentary that has been written to explain why both repentance and baptism on the parts of believers are not both "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).
Sometimes, instead of the Bible, people use situation ethics to try to determine right from wrong. Using this human standard, it is possible to argue that some lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, fornication, and even murder is not wrong. It is according to the situation, you see.
Many times this involves creating an elaborate scenario where someone must lie
to protect another, or steal to feed someone who is hungry. The idea is that the
goal is worthy enough to make the sin of lying not a sin after all in that
particular situation. Moral confusion is what results when we opt to live by a
different standard than the one God has given to us in the Scripture. Each
situation must be evaluated by each individual each time it arises and the
decision made all over as to whether it is appropriate to lie, and one
individual may see it differently than another. This moral confusion also
existed in the early days of Israel and the Bible describes the chaos and
lawlessness this way: "In those days there was no king in Israel, everyone did
what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25). It occurs to me that we have
been entering a similarly chaotic period in our own nation, and for the same
reason. It is hard to understand the truth when one uses a false standard to
search for it.
"And some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Him and began questioning Him, saying, 'Teacher, Moses wrote for us saying if a man's brother dies, and leaves behind a wife, and leaves no child, his brother should take the wife, and raise up offspring to his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died, leaving no offspring. And the second one took her, and died, leaving no offspring; and the third likewise; and so all seven left no offspring (I am wondering if it was her cooking! - JWQ); Last of all the woman died also. In the resurrection, when they rise again, which one's wife will she be? For all seven had her as a wife.' Jesus said to them, 'Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures, nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living;
you are greatly mistaken." (Mark 12:18-27).
Misconceptions Held as Truth
"And some Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection, came to Him and began questioning Him saying '...In the resurrection, when they rise, which one's wife will she be?" (Mark 12:18,23)
Sometimes misconceptions can keep us from seeing very simple truths. The magician tries to plant a misconception in your head that he is holding a certain card in his hand when it is really in his pocket. If it works, you are very surprised when he pulls it out of his pocket.
If you drive down a familiar road where they have put in a new stop sign when
there was none there before, it will take you a while to become accustomed to it
being there. You may even run it a time or two, not because it was difficult to
see but because you tend to assume that there just isn't a sign there. These
Sadducees were missing an abundance of Scriptural evidence for the resurrection
because of their misconceptions. Today, many do likewise about this and other
The False Standard of Truth
"There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died, leaving no offspring. And the second one took her... In the resurrection... which one's wife will she be?" (Mark 12:20,21a;23).
Apparently, the Sadducees thought that if they could make up a good enough story
that they could prove their case. This is much like people today who attempt to
justify sin. Instead of appealing to God's standard, the Scriptures, for what is
right or wrong, people consider opinion polls or other indications of the
popularity of a belief. If certain celebrities endorse an activity as a matter
of choice and not morality, then that is good enough for
Many times people try to allow situations to determine truth for them. They
think, "Lying must not be always a sin because I can think of certain situations
where I would lie; to save a life; to save someone from harm; to protect
someone's feelings." The Sadducees thought they had Jesus defeated with this
carefully contrived question. But please understand, even if they had put this
question to someone else other than Jesus, and that someone else had failed to
come up with the right answer, that still would not have proved or disproved the
resurrection. They were using the
wrong standard of proof to begin with. It still is today.
Critical Items in Finding Truth
"Jesus said to them, 'Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures, nor the power of God?" (Mark 12:24).
There are two things Jesus said the Sadducees lacked. They lacked a proper knowledge, or understanding of the Scriptures, and they lacked an appropriate grasp of the might of God's power. Without these two things, arriving at the truth would be indeed difficult.
The Scriptures are understandable as a guide for us in determining right from
wrong and truth from error (Ephesians 3:4; 5:8-10; 15-17; 1 John 2:3-6; 3:7,8).
More on that is a moment.Secondly, many today also lack the reverence and
respect for the source of the Scriptures; that is, for God Himself. The seem to
doubt that God will bring every act to judgment or that there are eternal
consequences for disobeying Him. But friends; God is not
mocked. We will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7,8; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
The Proper Standard
" But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? (Mark 12:26).
Jesus appealed to the proper standard for arriving at the truth on these and other matters. He appealed to the Scriptures. He quoted Exodus 3:6 and made the application. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who had walked the earth centuries before, were alive unto God. Death was not the end of them. God was still their God; they had not ceased to exist; they had merely gone to a waiting place to await their resurrection.
But the point we want to emphasize (at this time) is not Jesus' answer to this specific question so much as how He arrived at it. He went to the Scriptures. They are a much more reliable source of truth than stories such as the Sadducees (and many today) make up to support their agendas. It is a mistake not to allow the Scriptures to be our final authority; or, as Jesus put it to the Sadducees; "You are greatly mistaken." (Mark 12:27b).
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 4.7; July 1997