The Loaded Question

Read

Matthew 21:28-22:33Mark 12:1-27Luke 20:9-40Luke 20:20-26, “Keeping a close watch on Him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something He said so that they might hand Him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned Him: ‘Teacher, we know that You speak and teach what is right and that You do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ He saw through their duplicity and said to them, ‘Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. He said to them, ‘Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’ They were unable to trap Him in what He had said there in public. And astonished by His answer, they became silent.”

Think

Have you ever been posed with a question that only invited you to step into a trap? You're stuck, and no matter what comes out in response, you know you're really just opening your mouth to insert your foot!

  • "Do you notice anything different about me today?"
  • "Are you always this negative?"
  • "Is that really what you plan to do?"
  • "Do I look like I've gained weight?"

Smug and eager to "get Jesus good" this time, the spies in today's reading approached Him with a very loaded question. Would Jesus try to usurp Caesar's authority or blaspheme God? It seemed they would get Jesus in hot water with either the Roman authority or the Jews who despised paying taxes to a pagan government. Knowing their intent, Jesus didn't engage in an argument or go into some lengthy theological debate. He got to the heart of the matter with a simple, yet brilliantly illustrated teaching moment!The point Jesus made was that we don't belong to any earthly master or even ourselves; we are God's. But we are also subject to obeying the authority that God Himself placed over us!Those listening were astonished. The loaded question backfired and exploded back in the faces of Jesus' opponents, utterly silenced by His response. You can almost hear the disciples fist-bumping and saying, "Burn!"As Christ-followers, we must be ready to respond to loaded questions when challenged about our faith. Remember to maintain composure, not take offense, and see such moments as opportunities to change the trajectory of not only the question itself but of people's hearts!

Act

Pray

Lord, When faced with a loaded question, give me wisdom as I respond. Guide me to not put the most value in being right but in being intentional. I pray for opportunities to point others to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.