Matt 22:29 29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. NASU
What a bold and powerful statement Jesus made to the group of Jewish leaders known as the Sadducees. Jesus had already severely chastised the other group of leaders, the Pharisees, who were biblically conservative, but highly legalistic and self-righteous. Now he will go after the religious liberals of the day. They were just as opposed to Jesus as the Pharisees were.
Just as the Pharisees had done so many times, the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, tried to trick Jesus with their question. You can see the question in verses 24-28.
In the answer that Jesus gives, He rebukes them for their lack of understanding the scriptures and their lack of faith in God’s power. He shows them in scripture that there is certainly a resurrection, quotinq from Exodus 3. Matt 22:31-32 "But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: '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." NASU
In verses 34-40, the Pharisees, encouraged that their rival Sadducees had been silenced, decide to test Jesus again. Once again, as recorded in in verses 41-45, Jesus shows them their ignorance concerning scriptural interpretation. They are mistaken!
There are two major points of application for us. One is that we need to know, understand and apply scripture correctly. The Pharisees and Sadducees were both guilty of misinterpreting God’s word. If you misinterpret His word, you will misrepresent Him. God does not take kindly to being misrepresented. Do you remember what happened to Moses when he misrepresented God? He was not allowed to go in to the promised land.(read Nu 27:12-14)
Paul says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 to “rightly divide” the word of truth. It must not just be “quoted.” It must be interpreted correctly and applied correctly. We must have a proper understanding of what God wants to say to us in His written word.
It seems unusual that these men were not able to rightly divide the Word of Truth. They certainly had the biblical training to do so. Why were they getting it so wrong? Simple, they wanted to use their interpretation of scripture to enhance their standing and power in the community and leadership of Israel.
We face the same problem today. It is not that the teachers of the Word today do not have the resources to know the Bible. We have more opportunity to know God’s word today than ever before. But, as in that day, they also interpret the bible a certain way, in order to bring people into their churches and build power and influence. They teach only the things they think will be appeal to people.
The apostle Paul says in 2 Tim 4:3-5 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (NIV) It is important to understand that when the whole truth of God is not taught, He will be misrepresented.
That brings us to the second point of application. These men did not know the power of God. We need to make sure that we do know His power! When we study the scriptures, we see that God wants us to know His power. He wants us to participate in His power by prayer and through the use of the gifts He gives us. He wants us to experience the power of the Holy Spirit, changing and transforming our lives.
Rom 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. NASU
Rom 15:18-19 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; NASU
1 Cor 1:18-19 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Cor 2:4 ...and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. NASU
Col 1:10-11 walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; NASU
When our motivation for knowing the scriptures is to know Him, then we understand the power of God. We are then persuaded, that God wants to work with power in our lives, so that we may bring Him glory. So let us not be mistaken, but instead let us delight in knowing His word and seeing His power working in our lives!
God bless you