Matthew 22:15-22 (Tribute to Caesar 4: Putting the Lord to the Test)

Besides being truthful and teaching the way of God in truth, what other quality of Jesus did the Pharisees’ disciples emphasize in flattering Him?  See Mat 22:16.  In what way is a teacher, especially a religious teacher, like a judge?  Cf. 2Ti 2:15 where “handling accurately” (NAS) or “rightly dividing” (KJV) is literally “cutting straight”.  In what ways may teachers show partiality in their teaching?  Think: when a teacher waters down the truth for fear of offending someone, whether a political leader or perhaps a financial supporter, or even a hostile audience, are they not deferring to them and showing partiality?  In being impartial in his teaching, whose character does a teacher of righteousness reflect?  See Deut 10:17, 2Ch 19:7, Act 10:34, Rom 2:11.  In order to be a people for God’s own possession that reflects His nature and character, what commandments do we find in this regard throughout Scripture?  See Lev 19:15, Deut 1:17, 16:19, Eph 6:9, 1Ti 5:21, Jam 2:1.  What New Testament apostle do we Gentiles have especially to thank for being obedient to these commands?  See Gal 1:10, 2:6, 1Th 2:4.  What is the great danger of a teacher being partial and deferring to others for fear of offending them?  See Job 32:21-22, Mal 2:8-9, Jam 2:9.  In this light, what does James recommend to those who would be teachers?  See Jam 3:1.

After praising Jesus, albeit hypocritically, for not only teaching the way of God in truth but also being truthful, and deferring to no one but being impartial in His judgment as a teacher, what question did the Pharisee’s disciples then ask of Him?  See Mat 22:17.  Besides trying to disguise their true intentions and catch Jesus off guard, of what additional importance was their flattery to their plot against Him?  I.e., How did they expect their flattery would make it all the more difficult for Jesus to refuse to answer them?  What is a poll-tax?  Note that the Greek word used is kh/nsoj from which we get our English word census; this was not an income tax based on a person’s ability to pay, but a capitation or head-tax paid in conjunction with a census by every individual to the government of a conquering nation, such as Assyria, Babylon, and now Rome.  What would the popular opinion of this tax to Rome have been among the crowds of poorer classes of people that Jesus’ teaching especially appealed to?  Why was this important to their plot?  Think: what was the only thing preventing the religious authorities from just seizing Jesus outright?  See Mat 21:46 and NAS textnote.  What specific question does Mark note that those confronting Jesus on this issue pressed Him on?  See Mar 12:15a.  Thus if Jesus answered no to their question, who would He offend that would have Him arrested for sedition?  See Mat 22:16a.  But if He answered yes, who would He offend so that they could seize Him in a manner that would allow them to mitigate any public backlash?  What does this again help us understand about the premeditated nature of their plot?  What word does Matthew use to describe their culpable actions?  See Mat 22:18 and textnote.  What do their actions also help us to understand about the ways in which political leaders deliberately manipulate public opinion to accomplish their purposes?  Cf. Mat 27:20, Mar 15:11.  Does that same thing still happen today?

Although the Pharisee’s disciples by speaking words of truth sought to deceive Jesus, were they successful?  See Mat 22:18.  In what way was their experience an example to all pretenders who may say all the right things, but are not sincere in their motives?  Why is that?  Recall Mat 22:11 and cf. Rom 2:16, 1Co 4:5, Heb 4:12-13, Rev 19:12-13.  What did Jesus call them for their false pretenses?  What is the great danger of such hypocrisy?  See Mat 24:51.  What question did Jesus ask them in response to their hypocrisy?  See Mat 22:18.  Thus, although they appeared righteous, spoke words of truth, and were among the most orthodox in their doctrine, what commandment of Scripture were they violating by their pretense?  See Deut 6:16, Mat 4:7.  In what way does such pretense test or try the Lord?  Think: Do not pretenders test the Lord’s knowledge, if they will be detected, and His holiness, if they will be received into His presence?  Are we as guilty of putting the Lord our God to the test because our hearts are not sincere?  How does Luke describe their hypocrisy?  See Luk 20:23.  Whose nature does such trickery (NAS) or craftiness (KJV) reflect?  See Mat 4:5-7, 2Co 11:3.  How does this contrast with those who have the nature and character of God?  See 2Co 4:2; cf. Eph 4:14.

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