Printer-friendly version

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

Lesson No.: 
Memory Verse: 

"Render therefore to all their dues" (Romans 13:7).


Questioning Jesus
The chief priests and elders of the people asked Jesus by what authority He taught as He did in the Temple ([Matthew:21:23]). The Pharisees, who had heard Jesus' parables, were condemned and knew that He was speaking of them. The Pharisees made a plan by which they hoped to "catch" Jesus in His words ([Mark:12:13]). Their plan was to make Jesus speak in such a way that it would bring an offence against the Romans that "they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor" (Luke:20:20).

The Pharisees, themselves, did not go to Jesus. They sent some of' their disciples with another group called Herodians, who, no doubt, were subject to Herod and his family. They hoped, by flattery, to catch Jesus off His guard. They called Him "Master," as if they were His followers.

A Faithful Teacher
The people said, "We know that thou art true, and teaches" the way of God in truth." The words they spoke were true, whether they knew it or not. Jesus was true, and taught the truth. The name of "Faithful and True" has been given to Him ([Revelation:19:11]). Jesus said of Himself "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John:14:6). Jesus was a faithful teacher. Jesus did not hesitate to reprove man of sin, even though that man was rich, influential, or learned. Christ's love and compassion for all people were so great that He was partial to no one. His teachings were for all people. Christ was faithful to point out the sin in the lives of all classes of people, and to take the sin from the lives of those who repented.

These people who went to Jesus pretended to be inquiring about the right way, but they really were not wanting Christ's opinion. They were trying to entangle Him, that His words might be deliberately misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Giving Tribute
The question these men asked Jesus was one, which might have entrapped an ordinary person. They asked Jesus if He thought it was "lawful to give tribute unto Caesar." They hoped that Jesus' answer would get Him into trouble. If Jesus said that they should pay tribute, the disciples of the Pharisees would stir the people against Him. If, on the other hand, Jesus said that they should not pay tribute, then the Herodians would tell Herod. They thought they had Jesus trapped. They thought that whatever He said would cause Him to be either an offender against the government or an offender against the people. They asked, "Shall we give, or shall we not give?" (Mark:12:15).

Christ's Wisdom
Jesus knew their wickedness, their hypocrisy ([Mark:12:15]), and their craftiness ([Luke:20:23]). Jesus knew that their plan was for no good to Him or to themselves. They were not seeking the truth. Their scheme was cleverly planned, and given a good appearance, but it came to nought, because these men were dealing with the Son Of God, whose wisdom is greater than all others. These men and others, too, have learned that one cannot deceive the Lord God nor can one hide from Him the real motive that is in the heart. "The LORD looketh on the heart" (I Samuel:16:7). "Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men" (Acts:1:24). "The word of God is quick, and powerful... and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews:4:12). "Thus saith the LORD... I know the things that come into your mind" (Ezekiel:11:5).

A Coin
No doubt the Herodians and the disciples of the Pharisees were very much surprised at Jesus' answer. He asked to be shown a tribute coin. Perhaps Jesus had none; He became poor for our sakes that we might have the true riches of Heaven ([2 Corinthians:8:9]). Jesus was more interested in spiritual things than in things of a temporal or physical nature.

A penny, the tax money, was brought to Jesus. He asked about the writing and the picture that were stamped on the money. It is said that there was a rule among the Jewish people that he whose coin was used was the ruler of that country; much in the same manner as those who have crowned Christ the King of their life, have the likeness of Christ in their heart. We have learned that Christ is King of kings and that some day He will rule over all. Now Christ rules and reigns in the hearts of His people, those who have Christ's likeness stamped upon their hearts and lives.

No Offence
Upon the penny were stamped the image and words of Caesar. Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." That is all Jesus said. There was no offence given to the government or to the people. Jesus' answer was plain and true. There was no mistaking the meaning. Instead of entangling Jesus, they were reproved; for, without a doubt, all were guilty of withholding from God.

In Jesus' few words He showed us that Christians are good citizens. They perform their duty to their country. Nevertheless, they also perform their duty to God, for "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts:5:29). Many people are very careful about the temporal things of this life, but they overlook spiritual things. Let us not fail to heed the last part of Jesus' statement, too, which is that we should render "unto God the things that are God's." Our heart and life belong to God. Are we giving them to Him? The word "render" means to give back or return. Are we returning to God the love that He has shown us? Jesus has given much for us. What are we giving to Him?

The Herodians and the disciples of the Pharisees gained nothing by opposing Christ. They marvelled at His answer. They held their peace and left Him, defeated by Him, but refusing to heed His words of life. They still did not render to God the honour that was due to Him.

In writing to the Romans, Paul said: "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour" (Romans:13:7).

Another Question
The same day, another group of people came to question Jesus. This time they were the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection. They addressed Jesus as "Master," just as the others did. They quoted the Law of Moses ([Deuteronomy:25:5]). Then they put to Jesus an example to try to prove their point concerning the resurrection. They thought that Jesus could give no answer, thus proving that they were right in denying the resurrection. The example they gave was very unusual: There were seven brothers, all of whom had died; and the six of them had been obedient to the Law by each marrying his brother's widow. The Sadducees wanted to know whose wife this woman would be in the resurrection, for she had been the wife of the seven brothers on earth.

Ignorance of the Scriptures
Jesus answered their foolish question by saying that they made their mistake because they were ignorant of what the Scriptures say about life after death, and because they knew not the power of God. Jesus informed them that in the resurrection there is no marriage.

Jesus quieted the Sadducees in such a way that they dared not ask Him more questions. He gave them their answer from the Book of Moses which they had already mentioned, and proved to them that there is a resurrection, for He said: "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

The Resurrection
The Sadducees made their mistake in not believing all the Scriptures. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, teaches about the resurrection. Job expressed his belief in the resurrection ([Job:19:25-27]). The Psalmist David mentions the resurrection ([Psalms:71:20]). Daniel prophesied concerning the resurrection ([Daniel:12:2]). ( Lesson 120 )

The Whole Bible
Today, people are led into error because they do not believe and teach all the Scriptures. We must believe the whole Bible, from the first verse of Genesis, the first Book, to the last verse of Revelation, the last Book -- if we are to go to Heaven.

Jesus answered with the Word of God the insincere questioners who had sought to trap Him. He did not ignore those who inquired of Him. Today, we can find in the Bible the answer to every honest question regarding spiritual things, which will help one to prepare and to keep ready for the Lord's coming.

A Question from Jesus
Of the Pharisees who had gathered, Jesus asked a question, not to ensnare them but to instruct them. His question was, "What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?" Their answer was, "The Son of David." In other words, they thought that Christ was a man. Christ should have meant more to them than that. To Christians, Christ is the Son of God, their Saviour and their Redeemer. Jesus asked them a question, which every one of us must answer. What do you think of Christ? Is He your Saviour and Redeemer?

When the Pharisees answered that they thought Christ was the Son of David, Jesus then asked how could David can Him "Lord" if He were David's son. That puzzled them, and it appeared to them to be difficult of explanation. Only the truth could be the answer to such a question. It is true that Jesus was human; and, as the son of man, He was the son of David. Jesus was also divine, the Son of God, whom David called "my Lord" (Psalm:110:1). (( Lesson 113 and Lesson 130 teach further the subject of Jesus, the Son of God.)

The Pharisees had no more to say to Jesus. No one could ask Him any more questions. No one succeeded in his effort to entangle Christ in His talk. Many marvelled at Jesus' wisdom, yet went away unbelieving. Let us be "doers of the word, and not hearers only" (James:1:22).


1. Why did the people try to entangle Jesus in His talk
2. What is another word for tribute money?
3. Who was Caesar?
4. What should we render to God?
5. What was the false belief of the Sadducees?
6. How did Jesus answer the Sadducees?
7. What did the Pharisees think of Christ?
8. Why was their answer only partly right?
9. Why must we believe the whole Bible?
10. Why is it necessary to do the commandments of God as wed as hear them?