Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.
The religious leaders continued their attempts to catch Jesus in a contradiction. The Herodians were partial to Roman rule so they decided to take the angle of taxes. With a disingenuous introduction, they asked, “Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” A “yes” would rile the crowd who hated Rome. A “no” would be a statement against the empire.
The trick backfired. No one could ever back Jesus into a corner. He simply answered by telling the Herodians to pay God what belonged to God and Caesar what belonged to Caesar. The crowd was amazed at the way Jesus silenced the religious leaders.
There are those today who use these same tactics. Many come with questions to try to trick Jesus’ followers. Their questions are just as insincere as the Herodians. The inquiries are a smokescreen hiding their pride. We will never trust in Jesus until we set our pride aside and humble ourselves before Him.
Father, help me never use questions and arguments as tactics to put off a decision for You. Break through my motives and capture my heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today on The Journey Broadcast: