Mark 12:24

WHy The Word Of God And The Power Of God Are Inseparable 

The Sadducees were known for their strict adherence to the Torah, differing from other Jewish groups because they rejected oral traditions favored by the Pharisees and focused solely on the written Torah. They identified themselves as “BIBLE PEOPLE,” disbelieving a supernatural worldview, they rejected the concept of Angels, Demons, and resurrection. In Mark 12:18-23, they challenge Jesus on resurrection by posing a hypothetical scenario of a woman married to seven brothers in succession due to the Levirate marriage law. They posed this hypothetical as an attempt to expose a perceived inconsistency in Jesus’ belief in the resurrection.

Jesus then begins his response to the Sadducees in Mark 12:24 saying “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?”. Pause on that for a hot second! “Selah” the psalmist would say!

Jesus does not start by picking apart their theology, he starts by going to the root of why their theology is wrong. Their acceptance of only the initial 5 Bible books and rejection of the remaining Old Testament becomes a clear reason for their mistaken views. But its those next few words that shake me a little “nor the power of God”. The Sadducees did not believe in supernatural activity whether it was heavenly or demonic. This naturalistic materialism had actually blinded them from comprehending the truth of scripture. Their disinterest, disbelief, and skepticism in the Power of God actually blinded their hearts and minds from seeing the glory of Jesus (2 Cor 4:4).

This is a scary reality for us today, as the default Western worldview is one of naturalistic materialism. Can’t we see this kind of blinding around us today? If we are truly to embrace the word of God we must also embrace the power of God. To resist a supernatural worldview is to predisposed ourselves for deception.

In fact, this reminds me of the story from Anglican priest and historian William De Arteaga. William was a part of a liberal episcopal denomination when the charismatic renewal of the 1960’s broke out. Here is his story:

“The Charismatic Movement first broke out among Episcopalians in 1960 and then spread to other mainline denominations such as the Lutheran, Presbyterians, and Methodists. All of those denominations had suffered from decades of “liberal creep.” That is, the seminaries had been slowly captivated by non-believers who taught a “de-mythologizing” theology. This asserted that the miracles of the Bible did not really happen, and that Paul exaggerated the lordship of Jesus, etc. This had a poisonous result as increasingly liberal pastors replaced their more orthodox predecessors who died or retired. This process dampened and destroyed their congregations’ faith in the veracity of the Bible. What the Charismatic Movement did was to sharply reverse that trend. That is, the demonstration of real healings, exorcism, and other miracles destroyed the foundations of liberal demythologizing. If I just saw a miracle of healing, why should I believe the seminary professor who said the miraculous is “unscientific” and never happened in the Bible? The end result was that those congregations and pastors who became charismatic also became much more orthodox in traditional doctrine and affirmers in the veracity of Scripture. Those pastors and churches that rejected or disregarded the Charismatic Movement (a majority of the mainline churches—the seminary poison was too deep) drifted into further liberalism and were led into all sorts of theological distortions, such as “liberation theology” and the drive to normalize homosexuality as a “good” to be affirmed.”

The word of God and the power of God must not be separated in our church we must fight for both! Let us pray to fan into flame our passion for the Word of God AND the works of God, that we may have understanding!

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