First from one, then the other … but wisdom is the answer. Matthew 22.15-33
In our conversations with friends and loved ones, we do not usually have to be on our guard. We do not even have to stop and think, ‘now are they trying to trick me, shoot me down or exactly what are their motives?’ However, sometimes there are those relationships and circumstances in which we ought be aware that there may be another agenda in the mind of our conversant. Jesus had heightened awareness of the intentions of the Jewish leaders.
It is good to consider the culture of Jesus’ day—customs, traditions, daily goings-on, and the political and religious influences as well. All of these contributed to the life our Lord lived, and certainly affected and sometimes helped shape or guide his ministry.
The two major sects of Judaism in the first century were the Pharisees and Sadducees. While the two had common ground, they also had some stark differences, and were usually at odds with each other.1 Most people could relate to the Pharisees as they were more common; we would think of them today as middle class businessmen. They equally validated the written Word of God with the oral tradition, oft giving tradition the same authority as the scriptures, which got them off base. They opposed any relations with Rome – yet of course, they were subject to Rome in Jesus’ day, which made for a constant struggle.
While the Pharisees were most concerned with religion, the Sadducees were aristocrats, most concerned with politics and position2. They did not adhere to the oral traditions—those passed down through the centuries—but considered only the written to be the Word of God. However, they held several contradictory positions to the Scripture—most importantly that there would be no resurrection of the dead. Accordingly, there would be no personal accounting for an individual’s life—neither judgment nor reward.
First the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, using their beliefs … Jesus sees right through them.
Then the Sadducees come at Jesus from another angle to discredit him…
but Jesus knows their hearts, he knows their motives.
“Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.” Matthew 22.15-33
~>Get this: the reason they were astonished at his teaching which came in the form of responses to their questions is that Jesus used great wisdom. That same wisdom is available to you and me. We must ask God for it, and he promises to give it. Click: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%201%3A5&vers...;
God’s wisdom? Oh, Yes! https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+3.17&version...;
~> Let us then access the wisdom of God and employ it in our conversations, particularly those which are weighty or difficult.
1 – Got Questions? http://www.gotquestions.org/Sadducees-Pharisees.html ;
2 – “The Cultural Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” Dr. David A. DeWitt, Relational Concepts Inc., http://www.relationalconcepts.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=a_6J2_H...;
3 – James 1.5
4 – James 3.17