15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.16 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. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “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.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Forgiveness Ministries – Concord CA
Observation: The Pharisees, thinking that Jesus was just an average man, thought they could outsmart Him. This was a situational ethics question I’m sure they themselves debated unsuccessfully with each other. It reminds me of the kinds of questions students today are challenged with in school. No one ever comes up with the “right” answer because the question is designed to make everyone compromise his or her moral integrity. The only way to beat these questions is to think outside of the small, constraining box the question itself builds. Jesus did this. Jesus answered in a way they never imagined. God is smart. Or as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:25, “…the foolishness of God is wiser than men…” They went away amazed at His answer.
Action: What sticky problems are you facing in your life today? Are you out of answers? Do you see no way out? Do you feel trapped? Bring your situation to God in prayer with thanksgiving and faith in the simple fact that God is smarter than you are and thinks outside of the box. Then wait expectantly upon Him. As we wait on God, He will display His wisdom and power in ways completely unexpected by us. He will amaze us. Then, instead of going away from Jesus as they did, we will be drawn to Him in love and admiration.