For this week’s Word Nerd Wednesday my dear friend, Kim Power, takes us deeper into what the Sadducees believed and how we can avoid being like them.
Let’s take a trip back through an old Sunday School lesson and see what we can remember about who the Sadducees were and how their belief system still affects us today.
noun: Sadducee; plural noun: Sadducees
1a member of a Jewish sect or party of the time of Jesus Christ that denied the resurrection of the dead, the existence of spirits, and the obligation of oral tradition, emphasizing acceptance of the written Law alone.
The Sadducees, often compared to or confused with the Pharisees, were considered to be one of the religious parties during the time of Jesus. They represented the upper class of the priesthood and the structure of power in Israel. Their religious duties centered primarily around the Temple.
The Sadducees were highly critical of Jesus and his teachings, persecuting not only Jesus and the apostles but anyone who followed Him. We see in Acts 5:17-18 that the Sadducees had the apostles thrown in jail for continuing to proclaim the name of Jesus. “But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail.” When the apostles were released, they were beaten and ordered to not speak in the name of Jesus again. (Acts 5:40)
Old Believers Collide with the New Testament
The Sadducees considered themselves conservatives, or “old believers” because of their adoption of the Old Testament doctrine and the written law of Moses, while rejecting the interpretation of oral law completely, yet they had their own traditions, interpretations, and procedures. The Sadducees, themselves, gave oral law to the apostles, which they demanded to be obeyed. One definition of the word Pharisee means hypocrite, yet we see a lot of hypocrisy in the Sadducees. The Sadducees’ criticism of Jesus was not one sided. They received much criticism and condemnation from Jesus for their skewed beliefs that went against the Gospel of the New Testament teachings. Jesus warned his disciples against the principles of both the Sadducees and the Pharisees. (Matthew 16:6-12)
The Sadducees denied the teachings taught by Jesus, including the idea of the resurrected dead, eternal life after death and the existence of spirits and angels.
“For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel,
nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.”
They held fast to their conviction that there was nothing for humans after this life. The Sadducees persecuted and tested Jesus, refusing to believe He was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior.
Is the Bible Truth?
Although the Sadducees are no longer a present day, organized religious group, we can still see many of these same characteristics today in many religions and denominations. There are many believers and non believers, today, who struggle to accept ALL of the teachings of the Bible. There are portions of the Word that we accept as Gospel truth, and other portions that we dismiss as false or not relevant to our lives. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” You either accept all of the Bible and its teachings as absolute truth and walk in faith or you deny it all.
Sadly, the Sadducees also missed out on the precious gift of the Gospel: Grace. When you cling to the law of the Old Testament, you miss the greatest gift of all: life eternal through the blood of the lamb, Jesus. The bondage of legalism is laced with condemnation, frustration, shame, fear, doubt…. There is no freedom in the legalism of the Old Testament law. Living under the law of the Old Testament really is “sadd-u-cee!”
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday.