Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 22:15-22

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money." So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?" They said to Him, "Caesar's." And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way. -Matthew 22:15-22

To whom is this command spoken?

The disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians.

What does the command require?

Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.

What truths do we learn here?

Yet again, we find the Pharisees trying to trick and trap Jesus with a question. Only this time they didn't ask Him in person; they sent their little minions to do the dirty work. The pharisaical disciples come to Jesus, butter Him up with flowery words of praise, then ask their 'trick' question. "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" That is the best they could come up with. In part, I think the Pharisees were trying to discover if Jesus was the Messiah or not. They all thought that the Messiah was the one who would come and free them from Roman rule and establish a kingdom of peace and prosperity in Israel again. So their question this time may have had a little more honor than the others. But then again, maybe not.

Jesus blasts these hypocrites with His words. Jesus' explanation to these men makes total sense. Pay to Caesar what is Caesars and pay to God what is God's. The Pharisees didn't love God. They loved themselves. They served themselves. They did all things to make themselves look good. Jesus revealed what was truly in their hearts. I like His first words in reply to them: "Why do you test me, hypocrites?" The first words Jesus said show their true colors. They didn't really believe that Jesus was from God or that He knew the way of God.

The men marveled at Jesus reply, yet they couldn't find it within themselves to turn from their way and follow Jesus. They left Him and went their way. How sad that Jesus could teach them truth and they walk away.

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