Next a group of Sadducees came to Jesus with a question. According to the law of Moses, if a man died childless, his brother was to have a temporary marital relationship with the widow for the purpose of producing an heir (Deut 25:5-6). The question put by the Sadducees concerned an unlikely situation where a widow would meet seven husbands, all brothers, in the resurrection. Since Sadducees did not believe in any form of life after death, their question was intended to make fun of Jesus and the doctrine of the resurrection (Luke 20:27-33). (For other beliefs of the Sadducees see earlier section, ‘The New Testament World’.)
Jesus told the Sadducees that their question was without meaning, because Israel’s laws applied only to life in the present physical world. Life in the age to come is not a continuation of present earthly life, but is a different kind of life altogether (Luke 20:34-36; cf. 1 Cor 15:35-44).
To show that life after death was a fact they could not deny, Jesus quoted from the book of Exodus (which, being part of the Pentateuch, was one of the few parts of the Scriptures that the Sadducees read). Long after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had died, the Scriptures spoke of God as having a living personal relationship with them. They must therefore still be living, even though their bodies are dead and buried (Luke 20:37-38; cf. Exod 3:6). Some of the scribes (probably Pharisees) were impressed with Jesus’ answer and were pleased to see the Sadducees silenced (Luke 20:39-40).