Lesson 95: They Tried to Catch Jesus in His Words
Matt. 22:15-40, Mark 12:13-34, Luke 20:19-38)
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. This is lesson # 95. Welcome again! Back to the temple! Jesus went to the temple on Sunday, the triumphal entry. Jesus went to the temple on Monday; you will remember the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple. Jesus went back to the temple early on Tuesday. But, on Tuesday he was confronted by a committee from the council. They demanded to know who gave Jesus the authority to do those things. Jesus asked them about John's baptism (was it from heaven?) but they answered they didn't know. Jesus managed to hold them long enough to teach three parables: the parable of the two sons that were instructed to work in the vineyard, the parable of the wicked husbandmen, and the parable of the marriage supper. We discussed these in our last lesson. After the three parables the delegation left. Mark said in 12:12, "they sought to lay hands on him, but feared the people; for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way." Luke said in ch. 20: v.19, "the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them." NOW, flip back and forth a little here; in Matthew 22:15, Matthew said, "Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk." Luke called them spies, i.e. they apparently sent back younger men pretending to be earnest seekers of truth; to try to ensnare Jesus by catching him in some statement they could used to belittle him before the people. Luke said (v.20), "they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor." That is, they were seeking to find something they might pervert as a pretext to deliver Jesus to the Romans. Let's read Luke on down through v.26. We'll continue our reading, beginning in Luke 20:21 and read down through v.26. Are you ready? "And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Show me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's. And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marveled at his answer, and held their peace." Jesus answered them in such a way they couldn't start a controversy with Jesus as they had hoped. Let's read Mark's account in Mark 12:13-17. We'll read Mark and Matthew before we discuss. Are you ready? Beginning in Mark 12:13, "And they sent unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou are true, and carest for no man; for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marveled." O.K. now back to Matthew. We'll begin in Matt. 22:15 and read down through 22:22. Have you got it? Let's read, beginning in Matt. 22:15. "Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left him, and went their way."
Alright, if you'll keep your eye on Matthew's account a moment; let's examine it first. The Pharisees sent "disciples" Matthew said, i.e. students of the Pharisees. Thus, as I said before, these were probably younger men. In v.16, Matthew said they sent those disciples WITH the Herodians. There is no statement or description of the Herodians in the scripture. Thus, we are left to conjecture who the Herodians were. You may remember that we ran across these people before back in Mark 3:6. That's the only place in the N.T. where they're mentioned with the exception of the passage that we just read. It is generally thought they had some connection with Herod Antipater, the governor of Galilee. At any rate, they must have been considered knowledgeable and thus good material for a clandestine operation. When they came to Jesus they tried to flatter him a little, cover up their identity, and toss him a leading question. Loyalty to truth is indeed an admirable quality. But they were trying, in their undercover, "private eye" approach to pervert truth and use it to destroy Jesus. That was about as demeaning, hypocritical and reprobate approach as could be found. Now, why did they ask the question about tribute money? The Jews were required to pay taxes to the Romans. But most Jews were bitterly opposed to this assessment. Thus, these undercover theological politicians were trying to get Jesus to take a stand either for or against the Roman tribute or tax. If Jesus said PAY THE TAX, the Pharisees thought most of the Jews would lose respect for Jesus. If he said DON'T PAY THE TAX, they planned to take him to Pilate and make a case out of the fact that Jesus forbid the Jews to pay taxes to Caesar. They were trying to give him a damned if you do and damned if you don't type question. But, Jesus perceived their wickedness and told them so before he answered the question. Matthew said that when they heard Jesus' answer, "they marveled, and left him, and went their way." The reason they marveled was that Jesus' foresight out stripped the teachers they had trusted. The reason they left was to report the results of their undercover decoy that got exposed.
When the Sadducees, another sect of the Jews learned that Jesus had exposed their scheme; they decided to try their slight of hand. So, I suppose within a few minutes on that Tuesday morning; here came the Sadducees. Let's read about this. We'll start with Matthew 22:23 and read through v.33. After Matthew we'll read Mark and Luke. Are you ready, beginning in Matt. 22:23, let's read. "The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all, the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine." Flip on over to Mark and let's read it from Mark. You need to find Mark 12:18. We'll read down through v.27. Are you ready? Beginning in Mark 12:18, let's read. "Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked Him, saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all, the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise; have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spoke untoHIm, saying, I am this God of Abraham, and of the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err." Alright, now Luke's account. It begins in Luke 20:27 and ends in v.38. So, turn to Luke ch. 20. We begin reading in v.27. Are you ready? Here we go! "Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife. And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, v.1 when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him."
O.K. all three writers preface this occasion by telling us that the Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection from the dead. The high priest at that time was a Sadducee named Joseph Caiaphas. I trust you remember Caiaphas from John 11:49. Strong competition existed between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Sadducees did not accept the oral traditions of the elders as the Pharisees. But, it seems that even those who disagreed among themselves ganged up on Jesus. The problem the Sadducees submitted to Jesus was based upon their assumption that marriage would have to continues into the future world. The complication they saw was explained very logically by Jesus when he unscrambled their false assumption. The marriage situation they described is what is known as levirate marriage [spelled L-E-V-I-R-A-T-E in case you want to look it up]. The idea behind it was to preserve families, it comes from Deut. 25:5-6. However, there's a lot of information in Jesus' explanation applicable to us. First of all, there is a resurrection from the dead. Secondly, study Luke 20:35. "they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any" more: for they are equal to the angels..." Like I said, very interesting information. Apparently some standing by having a less acid disposition and possibly having been over the' Sadducee arguments before were impressed with Jesus' answer. Luke added this in v.39-40, "Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said. And after that they durst not ask him any question at all." In other words the Sadducees clammed-up.
But, that spirit of sectarian competition was still there. Let's read from Matt. 22:34 beginning. V.34-40 in Matt. ch. 22. Let's read. "But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Now, let's read Mark also. Mark 12:28-34. Beginning in Mark 12:28. Are you ready? "And one of the scribes came,. and having heard them reasoning together, and' perceiving that he had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, 0 Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto Him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: and to love Him with all thy heart, and with all thy understanding, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and to love thy neighbor as thyself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question." The content in this section is very much like that which was said when the lawyer stood up to tempt Jesus back in Luke 10:25; when Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan. The lawyer asked Jesus, Master, What shall I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said, "how readest thou?" The lawyer gave almost identical wording to that, which Jesus gave the scribe that we just read about in Mark ch. 12. And this was one thing that Jesus and the scribes and the lawyers agreed upon. Jesus told the lawyer at the parable of the Good Samaritan, "this do, and thou shalt live." Jesus told the scribe here, "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." The two statements here, "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength" is a paraphrasing of the first four of the 10 commandments. The second statement, "love thy neighbor as thyself" is a paraphrasing of the last six of the ten commandments. This goes back to the second giving of the law in Deut. 6:5 and I Sam. 15:22. Luke doesn't record the dialogue of Jesus and this scribe. We'll continue our study in our ne:xt lesson. Untilthen, have a good day.