Jesus was never confronted with a question that He could not answer. He was God, and as such, He knew the entirety of the Scriptures as it were His very own words. This is why when He was confronted with a hypothetical question, He didn’t struggle or stumble over His words.
The Sadducees were a religious sect that did not believe in a resurrection in spite of the many indications of such in the scriptures. One of their prime arguments against a resurrection from the dead was a scenario that they had formulated. In this scenario, a certain married man had six brothers. After he died, his second brother married his widow, but eventually died. This repeated through all of the brothers, all of them eventually marrying this woman and dying (I would start to wonder about this girl with all these dead husbands). Their question to Jesus at the end of this hypothetical was “In the resurrection, whose wife will she be?” This was a ridiculous proposition, and they figured that they could stump Jesus with this “impossible” hypothetical.
Why did they care about resurrection? Why would they talk to Jesus about resurrection on this week? Why just two days before His death would they be confronting Jesus and challenging the veracity of resurrection? This was of massive importance. They thought that they were asking a question that would stump Jesus and His disciples, but they were actually just setting the stage for Jesus to teach His followers the greater truth that physical death is not the end. Customarily, when Jesus was challenged with a preposterous question, He would refuse to directly answer the question; but in this case, He engaged the questioners and gave clarity to the argument.
After hearing their question, Jesus answered by first confirming that there would indeed be a resurrection. Secondly, He reprioritized existence after the resurrection for the Sadducees. They thought that death was the end, and if there was resurrection, the afterlife was consumed with the same priorities that this life was, namely in this case, marriage. Jesus explained that marriage was not of primary importance in the presence of the Holy, Triune God of all the ages.
Jesus did not say much here about His own personal resurrection, but the truth that resurrection was indeed a fact would be of great concern and comfort to His disciples later that week. As Christians, we look back at the events of that Passion Week, and see that Jesus eventually died and resurrected. In Romans 6, Paul goes on to say that because of His resurrection, we can find victory over sin. Jesus is not a dead Savior, but a living one, and as a living Savior, we can rely on Him to help us in our gravest hour of need.
Food For Thought: Read 1 Corinthians 15:19-20. What does Paul say is our situation if Christ did not raise from the dead?