And they sent to Jesus some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?”15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying,19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring.21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.” – Mark 12:13-27
Have you ever had an “Ugh!” moment? Has the truth of your error, your wrong-headedness, or wrong-heartedness ever hit you between the eyes and utterly silenced you?It has happened to me more often than I would like to ad mit or even to have experienced. More than once it has happened to me toward the end of a long argument with the treasure of my life – my wife. I’m carrying on so certain that I have the high moral ground. I am right. She is wrong. Then i see around the corner, and I discover I was not just seeing only part of the picture, but I was looking the wrong way.
I don’t know why I couldn’t believe her sooner; why I had to carry on longer and longer before I came to that conclusion, but alas…that’s just the way it is for some of us.
I wonder if I would reserve my admission so long if Jesus had said to me, “You are quite wrong.” That seems to be a game changer. At least it should have been. Another translation has, “You err greatly.” Those words from Jesus would seem to put sensible people on their heads.
It is interesting to me that Jesus is willing to speak to the heart of truth to foe and friend alike. He will tell Peter, “Get behind me Satan…” He will tell these posers, “You err greatly.” His concern seems to be only with the truth. But in reality it is not only in the truth; Jesus is keen on all people knowing and embracing the truth.
Jesus wants us to know and embrace the truth because he is truth incarnate. He has incredible blessings in store for those who seek and follow him. He is gracious and merciful to all. It’s not a matter of getting it all right ourselves; it’s a matter of getting him who is right and righteousness in the flesh. If he says, “You err greatly,” it is so that we can save ourselves an eternity of regret – or maybe even just a few moments of that regrettable hubris before we suffer the punch-in-the-gut “Ugh” that comes with discovering the depth of our sin.
The God of the living welcomes those who come to him in Jesus’ name. When we do that, we will experience not an “Ugh” of regret, but a “Ahhh!” of delight in his glorious grace. That sounds most inviting to me. How about you?