CHRIST ANSWERS THE INSINCERE QUESTIONERS

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[Matthew:22:15-33], [Matthew:22:41-46].

Lesson No.: 
219
Class: 
Senior
Memory Verse: 

"Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21).

Cross References: 

I Tribute Money
1. The Pharisees tried to incriminate Jesus with subtle questions, [Matthew:22:15-17]; [Psalms:2:2]; [Mark:12:13-14], [Isaiah:29:21].
2. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, [Matthew:22:18]; [Luke:10:25]; [Acts:5:9].
3. Jesus cleverly made the Pharisees answer their own question, [Matthew:22:19-21]; [Luke:20:1-8]; [John:8:5].
4. Jesus told the Pharisees to pay tribute unto whom tribute was due, [Matthew:22:21-22]; [1 Timothy:1:9]; [1 Timothy:2:1-3]; [Romans:13:1-7], [Titus:3:1]; [1 Peter:2:13-14].

II Questioning Sadducees
1. The Sadducees quoted a law of Moses in hope of ensnaring Jesus with an unanswerable question, [Matthew:22:23-28]; [Mark:12:18-23].
2. Jesus told the Sadducees that they were ignorant of the Scriptures and of the power of God, [Matthew:22:29]; [Ephesians:4:18]; [1 Peter:2:15]; [2 Peter:3:5].
3. Jesus answered the Sadducees' question about marriage, [Matthew:22:30]; [1 John:3:2]; [1 Corinthians:7:29-31].
4. Jesus told the Sadducees that God was the God of the living, not of the dead, [Matthew:22:31-33]; [Exodus:3:6], [Exodus:3:16]; [Acts:7:32]; [Luke:20:37].

II Defeated Questioners
1. Jesus asked his inquirers a question concerning the Sonship of Christ, [Matthew:22:41-42]; [Matthew:14:33]; [IHN:1:49].
2. Jesus questioned the Pharisees as to David's statement concerning Christ, [Matthew:22:43-45]; [Hebrews:1:13]; [Acts:2:34]; [Hebrews:10:12-13]; [Psalms:110:1].
3. No man dared to question Jesus any more, [Matthew:22:46]; [Job:32:15-16]; [Job:40:1-3]; [Isaiah:50:8].

Notes: 

Provocative Question
The Pharisees, taking counsel together as to how they might best incriminate Jesus, proposed a question to Him regarding their obligation to pay tribute money to Cæsar. The Pharisees thought that if Jesus told them not to pay tribute money to Cæsar, they could make an accusation to the Romans that He was inciting rebellion and sedition. And if Jesus supported the right of Rome to receive tribute money, they could claim He was not the true Messiah. The Messiah, or Christ, spoken of by the prophets, was to them the One who would restore Israel to a place of supremacy. If Jesus supported the Roman government, this would give the Pharisees an opportunity to say He was against Israel's restoration as a mighty nation. In either case, the Pharisees thought to win material to use for false accusation against Him.

Lost Heritage
The Pharisees' proposition as to whether they should or should not pay tribute money to Cæsar was a very faulty one, at best. They were supporting the premise that Israel was a sovereign nation, who owed allegiance to no one but God. While Israel suffered under the humiliation of being a conquered nation, they still held to the idea that their sovereignty could not be dissolved by any amount of subjection or occupation by a foreign nation.

Israel's claim to such sovereignty was in the fact that God had chosen them of all the peoples of the earth to be His peculiar treasure. Therefore, they claimed they did not owe any allegiance of any kind to anyone, even though they were in absolute subjection to another's rule. Israel's proud and self righteous principle of recognizing no law but their own was a continual opposition to Jesus, and was the basis for the instigation of many such questions as the Pharisees asked regarding the tribute money.

Israel spoke much of their rights under the covenant God had made with them, but they failed to remember it was a conditional covenant. They forgot that since God, in His sovereignty, was able to make of them a nation, who were not a nation, on the condition of obedience to His precepts, so also was He able to reject their sovereignty on the grounds of their disobedience. This had been done, and Israel, because of their rejection of Christ as the Messiah, was soon to lose the little government left to them. They still contended for the special rights and privileges that God's covenant had promised them; but they neglected to fulfill the condition of being a separate people unto God, which alone could bring the privileges God had promised to them.

The Jews, through their persistent and determined rebellion during many generations, caused their understanding to become so warped and ineffective that they could not see that they were no longer keeping God's law. What they understood to be the infallible word of God actually included a vast collection of men's traditions and Pharisaical opinions. (See Mark:7:1-13].)

The Jews, with all their striving against Roman rule, were very much like the man who had lost his axe head in a pool of water, and had to cry "Alas, master! for it was borrowed" (II Kings:6:5). They did not realise that their privileges were borrowed, and could not be retained without obedience to the Giver.

Acknowledged Obligation
Jesus easily brought the Pharisees' question to nought by asking them whose image was upon the money they used to pay tribute. They quickly answered, "Cæsar's." It was an everyday maxim of those times that whosoever had his image upon the money of commerce was the acknowledged ruler. When the Pharisees readily admitted this, they likewise admitted they had acceded to that rule, and were already in subjection to it. By their admission that Cæsar was the ruler, they admitted their obligation to pay that which the government had a lawful right to impose.

Jesus' answer to them, "Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's" was both a rebuke and an answer. They had accepted the rule of Rome in temporal things; why, then, did they not accept the government of God in those things in which He was to receive His just tribute and dues?

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy in daring to claim any covenant rights for Israel when they had repeatedly forfeited them by disobedience. He likewise rebuked them for tempting Him and questioning His obedience to God, when they themselves were full of hypocrisy and sin. The Pharisees were completely discomfited by His answer, and went away marvelling at the wisdom of Jesus.

The Sadducees' Question
A group of Sadducees also came to Jesus to question Him with the hope of proving there was no resurrection. Their question was both hypothetical and improbable, concerning a woman who had been the wife of seven men, one after the other. If there was a resurrection, whose wife would she be? The Sadducees thought this an unanswerable question, and they thought they would thereby be able to discredit Jesus and the truth of the resurrection

Jesus told them that they were ignorant of the Scriptures and of the power of God. God made man male and female, that they might multiply and subdue the earth ([Genesis:1:27-28]). In the resurrection there will be no marriage, but all shad be as the angels of God.

The souls of men shall be reunited with their bodies which shall receive immortality and be glorified. We shall become citizens of a spiritual world. We shall have flesh and bone ([Luke:24:39]), and shall be like Christ, for we shall see Him as He is ([1 John:3:2]). Men are to be as the angels, so far as immortality and place of dwelling is concerned; but in all other respects men will be greater than the angels. (See [1 Corinthians:6:3].)

God of the Living
Jesus showed the Sadducees that the resurrection was not according to their conception, by reminding them of a rather obvious truth they had overlooked. God said that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Either the souls of these men had long ago gone to be with the Lord, or else God was a God of the dead. Of what use or value is a God of men who are long ago laid away in their graves to be seen no more? If the souls of these men were not alive, to be united with their glorified bodies at the resurrection, then neither was there a living God. The Sadducees did not deny there was a living God; and consequently, on the basis of what Jesus said, they could not very easily repudiate the truth of the resurrection, and "they were astonished at his doctrine."

Jesus' Question
After the Pharisees and Sadducees replied Jesus with questions, Jesus asked a question of them: "What think ye of Christ? whose son is he." Their answer was, "The Son of David." Jesus then inquired of them to whom David referred when he said, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool" (Matthew:22:42-44).

This question baffled the Jews. The Jews were either unable to understand, or unwilling to believe, that the Christ was to be more than mortal man. They understood that He was to be a son of David, that He would inherit the throne of His Father, and that Israel was to be exalted to a great place of honour among the nations under His rule; but they could not see the relationship of Christ to the Father as the divine Son of God.

Sacrificial Lamb
Through the entire history of Israel God had patiently instructed the Hebrews in the truth of a coming Christ. Every offering pointed them to the necessity of a perfect sacrifice for sin, and the necessity of a sacrifice without spot or blemish. Where could they expect such a sacrifice, actually to atone for their sins, except from Heaven? Israel was ready enough to accept a deliverer of earthly origin, who would restore them to great earthly fame and splendour; but they did not want any other kind, and little understood of what His kingdom actually consisted.

Whenever Jesus tried to present to the people the truth that He was the Son of God, that He was eternal, that He had been with His Father in the past and would go to be with Him again, it always caused great dissension amongst them. (See [John:5:18]; [John:10:30] .) The thought of Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary, being divine was incompatible with the reasoning of most of the Jews.

This Psalm of David was one, which all Israel accepted without question as being prophetic of Christ. Yet it was obvious that David was speaking of two persons, and both of these persons were associated in the Divine Trinity. Why then did they take offence when Jesus told them that Christ was divine? Of whom was David speaking if he was not speaking of the Son of God? If Christ was the Lord of David, how could Christ be David's son?

Such questions the Pharisees were unable to answer. If they had believed in the miraculous birth of Christ, they would have understood how Jesus could be the Lord of David and still be his son.

One feels that the Pharisees caught a glimpse of truth that they had not reckoned with as Jesus questioned them about their opinions as to the Sonship of Christ. They dared not ask Him any more questions because of the great wisdom and knowledge He possessed of things about which they knew nothing.

Questions: 

1. Why did the Pharisees think they had any right to refuse to pay tribute money to Cæsar?
2. How did Jesus show the Pharisees their responsibility to the Romans?
3. What were the things they owed to God?
4. How did the Sadducees hope to disprove the resurrection?
5. How did Jesus prove there is a resurrection?
6. Why could not the Pharisees answer Jesus' question?
7. Who is David's Lord?
8. Is Jesus Christ actually David's son?