Blessed…On Setting a Trap

Then the Pharisees met together to find a way to trap Jesus in his words. They sent their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are genuine and that you teach God’s way as it really is. We know that you are not swayed by people’s opinions, because you don’t show favoritism. So tell us what you think: Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Knowing their evil motives, Jesus replied, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin used to pay the tax.” And they brought him a denarion. “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked.  “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” When they heard this they were astonished, and they departed (Matthew 22:15-22, Common English Bible).

I have given this some thought over the past couple of days. I can’t think of a time I have ever disliked someone so much, feared someone so much or had so little faith in someone as to cause me to try to set a trap for them to fall in and where they would lose face or lose credibility.

A Pharisee of Jesus’ day would not be able to say that.  Regardless of how you might interpret it, the religious authorities of Jesus’ day were truly afraid of Jesus and what he might do. They didn’t like him. They had no faith in him.

To be fair, and when it comes to the Pharisees we are often anything but fair, these were not bad people, at least not most of them. They were trying very hard to insure the faith would be viable for the future.

The Pharisees and their predecessors had worked hard to insure the faith had rid itself of idolatry. When we read the Old Testament it is easy to see that idolatry was rampant. In the New Testament the use of idols among the Jews would seem to have pretty well disappeared.

For the Romans, Caesar was considered to be a god. While not so much an idol, that would be a false god. To carry it a step further, the Jews believed, because Caesar’s image was on the coin, to have the coin on one’s person, was to be in possession of a graven image.

There is humor in this lesson. While the Pharisees try unsuccessfully to trap Jesus because Jesus sees the trap before he falls into it. He then turns the table on his would-be trappers by asking to see the coin used for the tax. Notice that as asks for the coin, he also calls those who are testing him hypocrites. How can you test someone in a way that brings to mind possessing a graven image while at the same time holding the graven image yourself.

It is an interesting dilemma that Jesus faces. More on that tomorrow.

Has someone ever used faith or Scripture in an effort to trap you? How? Were you able, with God’s help to avoid the trap? How?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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