Monday, March 31, 2014


Luke 20:26, “And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people, and marveling at His answer, they became silent.”

They were trying to find a way to get rid of him.  They went so far as to send spies who pretended to be His disciples (Luke 20:20).  They were trying find something, anything, in which to accuse Him.  Their plan was to “catch Him in some statement” that could be used against Him, that they might deliver Him up the Roman authorities (Luke 20:19).

Someone came up with a great idea.  “Ask Him about paying taxes,” they suggested.  So they first flattered him to be a true and impartial teacher (Luke 20:21), then they laid the big question on Him,    “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”  One can imagine their smugness and delight in putting the question forth.  Like spiders spinning a web they worked to draw Him into their trap.  They would have Him at last, they thought, there was no way He could wiggle His way out of this one.  If he answered YES, the people would be upset with Him—because the people deemed the tax illegal.  The people had stood in their way of their conspiracy before, but a YES answer would serve to alienate Him from them.  The religious leaders would then be free to do with Him as they pleased.  A NO answer would be equally beneficial for them.  The tax was the law.  To speak against the tax was to speak against the authorities.  If he answered NO they would have cause to deliver Him up to the Roman authorities as a seditious enemy of the state. He was caught in a trap, they thought, either answer would serve them well.

“But He detected their trickery and said to them, ‘Show Me a denarius.  Whose likeness and inscription does it have?’  And they said, ‘Caesar’s.’  And He said to them, ‘Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Luke 20:24-25).  He didn’t answer NO and He didn’t answer YES.  He wisely gave an alternative that they had not considered.

“And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people, and marveling at His answer, they became silent” (Luke 20:36).  We might say, “He silenced His critics.”  This is not the only example of Jesus silencing His critics in this chapter.  The Sadducees concocted a foolish conundrum to likewise challenge His teaching and authority (Luke 20:27-38).  They were silenced too: “For they did not have courage to question Him any longer about anything” (Luke 20:40).

Skeptical foes bombarded Him with questions, and they do to this day.  But in Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).  The religious skeptics of His day “searched the Scriptures” but had no heart for The Truth (John 5:39).  The foolishness of their religious skepticism was readily exposed in the light of His great wisdom.  They marveled at His answer, but not so as to believe in Him.  Let us marvel in belief.  He is all-wise.  His wisdom is imparted to us by the Spirit through His word.  Skeptics remain.  They love to antagonize and instigate His followers.  J. C. Ryle, “Blessed be God, He who silenced the chief priests and scribes by His wise answers, still lives to help His people and has all power to help them. But He loves to be entreated.”  He is glad to impart wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5).

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