Luke 20:27-21:4 Resurrection & Identity

27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

41 Then Jesus said to them, “Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David? 42 David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:

“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand

43 until I make your enemies

a footstool for your feet.”’

44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

21:1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”


Points of Interest:

  • (v.27) “Some of the Sadducees”—the Pharisees have become familiar to us. The Sadducees were the other major religious/political party among the Jews in Roman Palestine. The Sadducees were more conservative than the Pharisees in some ways, but less traditional in others. For instance, they recognized the authority only of the Law—the five books of Moses, which were the oldest parts of the Jewish scriptures—not of the Prophets; but they were also significantly influenced by Greek culture and philosophy. Whereas the Pharisees were of the prosperous middle class and dominated among the teachers in the synagogue, the Sadducees were upper class and dominated among the priests at the Temple. The Pharisees were more numerous, but the Sadducees held the more powerful positions.
  • (v.27) “who say there is no resurrection”—the Pharisees believed in life after death, but the Sadducees did not. It’s the perfect intersection of their scriptural conservatism (the books of Moses are a bit sketchy on what happens after death) and their urbanity (contemporary Greek philosophy focused on the material world).
  • (v.28) “man must marry the widow and raise up offspring”—this law (found in Deuteronomy 25:5-10) was meant to insure that widows could be adequately taken care of—largely through having children who would look after them in their old age—without land, which was the major wealth of each family, passing out of the hands of the family.
  • (v.36) “they are like the angels”—a little dig at the Sadducees, who—despite plentiful evidence in the books of Moses—also did not believe in angels (New Bible Commentary Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994).
  • (v.41) “Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David?”—During the birth stories early in his story, Luke makes much of Jesus’ association with David’s lineage. Even Gabriel, the angelic messenger to Mary, calls Jesus David’s son: “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David” (1:32). Just a few passages ago (18:38), the blind man who calls Jesus “Son of David” is given as a positive example of faith. So, why does Jesus all of a sudden take issue with the Messiah being called David’s son? It may have something to do with the perception of the source of the Messiah’s greatness. It’s not that the Messiah benefits from David’s reflected greatness – rather, David was great because he resembled and to a certain extent foreshadowed the King who was to come.
  • (v.3) “this poor widow has put in more than all the others”—speaking of widows, Jesus exalts this humble widow for her act of faith. These coins the widow puts in would be of worth very little, but they mean a lot more than they’re monetary value. She really believes she has no need to worry in this life, because she has a good father who will take care of her needs (12:30).


Taking it home:

  • For you: Do you feel like you have very little to offer to God? Maybe you wonder if it’s even worth giving what you have to give. This passage shows us that God sees and honors the smallest offerings.
  • For your Six: Their preconceived notion of what it meant for the Messiah to be David’s son was getting in the way of Jesus’ listeners ability to see Jesus clearly and accept what He had to offer them. Ask God to remove any unhelpful filters through which your Six see Jesus. One common filter is seeing Jesus as only a good moral teacher; pray for the truth of Jesus’ identity to break through every filter this week.
  • For our church/ILTJ: From this passage, we can see that Jesus seemed to believe the resurrection was a pretty important thing to believe. In fact, Christianity doesn’t exist without it. Pray today for our Easter services. This is a time during the year where the church gets a bigger than usual platform to explain the reason for the hope that we have in Jesus. Pray that our church would be fully prepared and that many invited will come and experience the presence of a God who is alive.


Family/Household Option:

  • To Talk About: No matter how wealthy or poor we are, it’s easy to look around and see people with more and start to feel like we have nothing of value to offer God. Jesus honors this widow by showcasing the extravagance of her small gift. She gave from her heart and out of love. That’s the example we want to follow. No matter how big or small the gift, the important part we are giving with joy and from love.
  • To Do: Young or old, money and giving can be a really hard thing to talk about. We really like our money, we can fear not having enough and worry that it will run out. Open up that conversation as a family today. Start with answering this question: Is it easy or hard for you to give an offering to God? Why? Is there an offering you think you might want to give to God’s work? Whether large or small, remember to give with joy and from love. Thank God for providing for your family, ask God to give you faith to trust Him with your money like the widow did and to really see that everything we have is His already anyways.