The tricky questions make you stop and think. Sometimes the answer is so very simple. Other times it is complex.
Imagine being one of those Pharisees, always trying to “catch” Jesus in a loophole. They spent so much time in their rituals, intent on their own way of finding God. They were face-to-face with Him but never knew it.
Until we see ourselves as a Pharisee. We chase after God with our own rituals and insistences. We try to trick Him with our questions and we are amazed by His answers. And then we walk away until we are really ready to hear Him.
As you read the following excerpt from Matthew, think about the scenario: What might you have heard in that first meeting? As they hatched their plan, what were all the side conversations? Who ran the meeting? What commentary might you have heard as they headed off with Herod’s reporters to meet with Jesus? And who was bold enough to speak? Who was the lead Pharisee? Who had the confidence to address Jesus? And what happened when Jesus answered them? Did anyone in the group start to wonder about their own place in the unfolding of this incredible story? Or did they just continue on in their insistence? Surely someone in the group started to question whether this was actually Jesus. But to go against your peers/community is not easy.
“Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
“Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
His reply amazed them, and they went away. Matthew 22 15:22 NLT