Entrapment 4.0 – Wednesday, 9th week in ordinary time- Mk 12:18-27
By now Jesus had just about ticked off most of the Jewish groups in the temple. He has effectively become enemy number one and after three failed attempts to trap Him, a fourth attempt is made. The big guns are brought out to tackle him and the Sadducees were a force to reckon with.
Politically, the Sadducees were aligned with Roman rule in a ‘while they reign, let us gain’ alliance. In doing so, their position as authorities in the Jewish ruling council (the Sanhedrin), were secure. They formed the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society.
But it is their rejection of the oral law that saw them caught up in constant inter-Jewish disputes between the Pharisees, who unlike them, accepted the belief in the resurrection, the immortality of the soul and the existence of angels. For the Sadducees, the ‘go to book’ was the Torah or as we know, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. They did not accept the historical books or the prophets. The Sadducees based their rejection of the resurrection on the silence of the Pentateuch which they strictly followed.
So when entrapment in all its forms fails, the Sadducees were sent in with a different strategy. Jesus is not asked a political question that could land Him in trouble, if answered wrongly. This time it’s a religious doctrinal question entwined in a hypothetical situation with a clear attempt to reduce the doctrine of the resurrection to absurdity.
Any question on the resurrection would have the ears of the Pharisee puckered up, to say nothing of the consequences of the hold Jesus had on the people, should he answer wrongly. This question was a hot potato that few would want to touch, but was now tossed into Jesus’ lap.
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