Blessed… It’s 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).

You are asked an innocent question that sounds simple. So, you quickly blurt out your answer. That is when the trouble starts. What you thought was simple and easy isn’t really so simple. In fact, it is a trap and you just walked right into the middle of it.

Life can be that way sometimes. We try to see ahead but sometimes we just don’t see the problem and before we know it we have walked off head long into it and find ourselves in over our heads.

This could have happened to Jesus in our lesson today. The Pharisees were trying to find a way to trap him and they think they have what they are looking for with a seemingly simple question. “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?”

To our modern ear we hear the question and don’t think much about it. We are used to paying taxes. We may not like it but we are used to it. And, from a secular perspective, without question it is lawful. So, Jesus should just go ahead and say “yes” and that would be the end of it.

Well, not so fast. The Romans believed the emperor to be a god. So, to pay taxes to the emperor, many Jews saw, including the Pharisees as paying tribute to a false god. By that logic, paying taxes to the emperor would not be a lawful act on the part of a good Jew.

Still, to not pay the tax? One could find yourself in serious hot water. What would happen between you and the IRS if you didn’t pay your taxes today?

So, here was Jesus’ dilemma. If he says, “Yes, it is lawful to pay taxes to the emperor,” he is a bad Jew. If he says, “No, you shouldn’t pay taxes to the emperor,” he is a subversive to the state and could have some very real consequences to those decisions.

Things are not always as simple as a quick glance might lead us to think. If we react to quickly we can find ourselves in deep trouble. Sometimes we need to first, stop and take a step back. We need to think through what we are about to do and only then see if we can find a solution.

That is what Jesus did. But, more on that to come over the next few days.

What do you do that allows you to walk into someone’s word trap?

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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