Click to Change

Return to Top

Return to Top

Printer Icon


Prior Section Back to Commentaries Author Bio & Contents Next Section
The Blue Letter Bible
Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The World into Which Jesus Came

Don Stewart :: Who Were the Sadducees?

toggle collapse
Choose a new font size and typeface

Who Were the Sadducees?

The World into Which Jesus Came – Question 11

One of the main opponents of Jesus Christ during the time of His public ministry was a group known as the Sadducees. There are a number of important things that we need to know about them. We can sum them up as follows.

1. They Were a Jewish Political Party

The Sadducees were a Jewish political party. They were members of the priesthood who made up part of the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin. The High Priest was taken from the Sadducees. Although they were few in number, they were educated and usually wealthy. We read a description of them in the Book of Acts:

For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. (Acts 23:8 RSV)

They had a different perspective on these matters from the Pharisees.

2. They Were Opposed to the Pharisees

From a reading of the New Testament, we discover that the Sadducees were opposed to the Pharisees. The Apostle Paul used their theological differences to cause a division between them. The Book of Acts records what took place:

But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. (Acts 23:6, 7 NKJV)

Paul used this division between these two groups for his own advantage.

3. They Came to Trap Jesus

During the public ministry of Jesus, we find that the Sadducees sent some of their people to question Jesus about the subject of the resurrection of the dead. Matthew’s gospel records for the following:

The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So that same day some of the Sadducees came to Jesus and said. (Matthew 22:23 CEV)

They had different views on the nature of the resurrection. Consequently, they thought they could trap Jesus with their question on this subject.

4. They Were Ignorant of Two Basic Truths

In reply, Jesus said the Sadducees were ignorant of two basic things. We read about this in Matthew’s gospel:

Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29 NRSV)

These people did not know the Scriptures neither did they know the power of God. Unfortunately, this type of ignorance is still with us today in many people. They do not really know what the Bible teaches neither do they know the power of the God of the Bible.

5. They Joined with the Pharisees against Jesus

Although they were usually opposed to the Pharisees, we find them uniting together in their mutual hatred of Jesus. The Bible explains it in this manner:

The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. (Matthew 16:1 NRSV)

Former enemies became friends in an attempt to stop Jesus. As much as they despised each other, they despised Jesus all the more.

6. They Continued the Persecution of Jesus’ Followers

After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the Book of Acts says that the Sadducees, like the Pharisees, continued with the persecution of Jesus’ disciples. We read the following:

While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the leading priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees came over to them. They were very disturbed that Peter and John were claiming, on the authority of Jesus, that there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, jailed them until morning. (Acts 4:1-3 NLT)

They, like the Pharisees, could not allow the message of Jesus to continue. Therefore, they tried vainly to stop it. Yet the message of Jesus Christ will never be stopped. Indeed, it cannot be.

7. They Disappeared after A.D. 70

With the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 the Sadducees disappeared from history. We hear no more from them after this time. Jesus Christ as well as His message lives on, the Sadducees do not.

In sum, the Sadducees, like the Pharisees, were opponents of the ministry of Jesus Christ. While they were instrumental in putting Him to death they could not stop His message from going out to the ends of the earth.

Summary – Question 11
Who Were the Sadducees?

The Sadducees were a Jewish political party which consisted largely of wealthy landowners. The High Priest of Israel was taken from the Sadducees. The Sadducees were opponents of the religious Pharisees. However, they joined the Pharisees in their opposition and persecution of Jesus. As much as they had nothing to do with each other the mutual hatred of Jesus caused these opposing groups to unite.

There is an incident recorded for us in the gospels where the Sadducees approached Jesus with a question concerning the resurrection of the dead. Jesus told them that their question showed ignorance of two basic things; they knew neither the Scriptures nor the power of the God of the Bible. Unfortunately, this type of ignorance is still with us today. People truly do not know what the Bible has to say nor do they understand the power of the God of Scripture.

While these wealthy landowners along with the religious Pharisees were successful in having Jesus wrongfully put to death this did not stop Him or His message. Jesus came back from the dead three days after His death. The message of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead continued to be told. From the Book of Acts we find that the Sadducees attempted to stop Jesus’ disciples from proclaiming His truth. Yet, in all their attempts, the Sadducees failed completely.

While they continued to persecute Jesus’ followers after His death and resurrection this persecution soon stopped. With the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, as well as the temple, in the year A.D. 70, the Sadducees ceased to exist.

Today the message of Jesus Christ is embraced by untold millions while these opponents are a distant memory. This further points out the truth of Jesus’ prediction that He will build His church, His group of people, and no power on earth can stop it. Certainly the Sadducees were not able to accomplish the halting of the gospel message. Neither can anyone else.

Who Were the Pharisees? ← Prior Section
Who Were the Herodians? Next Section →
BLB Searches
Search the Bible

Advanced Options

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval

Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.