Matthew 22:15-22 (Tribute to Caesar 1: Plotting to Trap God)

Recall that it is Tuesday morning of Passion Week and Jesus has just been confronted by a delegation from the Sanhedrin in regard to His authority for cleansing the temple and teaching the people as He had been doing the previous days, to which in addition to His question to them about the authority for John’s baptism He presented three parables: the parable of the two sons (Mat 21:28-32), the parable of the wicked tenants (Mat 21:33-45), and the parable of the marriage feast (Mat 22:1-14).  What is the significance that Jesus these three times, using three different images, speaks against the religious leaders, even as they had previously and on this day will multiple times gather against Him?  Cf. 2Co 13:1 and observe that as the Jewish leaders had rejected Him, so was God rejecting the Jewish leaders.  What did God’s rejection of the Jews for their rejection of Christ portend for the Jewish nation?  See Luk 19:41-44, 23:27-31.  What does this remind us about the momentous consequences that seemingly inconsequential choices can have, and thus the need for complete righteousness in every circumstance?  Already after His second parable they sought to seize Him, understanding that His parables were against them, but were prevented for fear of the multitudes who held Him to be a prophet (Mat 21:46).  After His third parable what did the Pharisees do?  See Mat 22:15.  Was this the first time they had plotted together against Him?  See Mat 12:14.  Why had all the earlier plots against Him been unsuccessful?  Cf. Joh 7:30,44, 8:20, 10:39, 17:1.  What does this remind us about God’s sovereign control over our lives?  What encouragement should this give us to be bold in our witness and not fear the plots and schemes of men?  Cf. Mat 10:28-31, Psa 2:1-4, 37:12-13.  What does the fact that the Pharisees “plotted” or “counseled” together indicate about the premeditated nature of their evil intent?  Cf. Mat 27:1,7, 28:12.  Recall that the religious leaders imagined that they were justified in their actions against Jesus for the greater good of the nation lest He incite a rebellion that would provoke the Romans against them (Joh 11:47-53); in the day of judgment, how will such a defense stand up in God’s court of justice, especially considering its premeditated nature?  See Mat 21:31,41, 22:7 and cf. Isa 5:18-21.  What does this remind us about the subtle and deceptive nature of expedience, the temptation it presents to our souls, and what our response to it must be?  See 1Co 10:13 and cf. Luk 23:50-51, Exo 23:2.

What does Matthew say was the goal of the Pharisee’s plot against Him?  See Mat 22:15.  What is the nature of a “trap”?  Cf. 1Sa 28:9, Pro 7:21-23, Ecc 9:12.  How does Matthew say they sought to ensnare Him, and what was the bait?  See Mat 22:15,17.  In what way was their question a trap?  Think: if he answered yes, to whom would they accuse Him of sympathizing with Rome, and if He answered no, to whom would they accuse Him of sedition?  How was their attempt to trap Jesus not unlike what the wicked have always sought to do in regard to the righteous?  Cf. Psa 119:110, Jer 5:26, 18:22b.  What similar snares do the wicked today, especially the media, lay for the righteous by posing polarizing questions?  Why are such traps so often very effective? Cf. Job 18:5-10, Pro 18:7.  Why then was their trap not going to work with Jesus?  See Pro 12:13.  What does this teach us about the necessity of true heart righteousness to be able to escape the many pits and snares of this present evil age that are laid not only by those in the world, but by the devil who is the arch enemy of our souls?  Cf.  Pro 29:6, 1Ti 3:7, 2Ti 2:26.  Is it significant that such snares, as in our present context, often relate to money or things of the world?  Cf. Luk 21:34-35, 1Ti 6:9.  What does this teach us about the need to be extra cautious about greed and give heed to Scripture’s command to not love the world nor the things in the world?  What is the great danger in general to the wicked of laying a trap for the righteous, and in this case more specifically, for attempting to ensnare the righteous Son of God?  See Psa 9:15, 11:6, 35:7-8, 57:6, 141:9-10, Isa 8:14.  What does this teach us about our great hope and confidence to be delivered from whatever pits and snares the wicked may lay for us as we walk righteously and put our trust in God to deliver us?  Cf. Psa 25:15, 31:4, 91:3, 124:7.  Should we have that same confidence if we don’t give heed to His commands to walk in the true heart righteousness that demonstrates our faith in Him?  Cf. Jos 23:12-13, Isa 24:17-18.

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