From Heaven With Love


Chapter 66—Christ Confounds His Enemies

This chapter is based on Matthew 22:15-46; Mark 12:13-40; Luke 20:20-47.

The priests and rulers could not refute Christ's charges. But they were only the more determined to entrap Him. They sent spies, “who pretended to be sincere, that they might take hold of what He said, so as to deliver Him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor.” RSV. These young men, ardent and zealous, were accompanied by Herodians who were to hear Christ's words, that they might testify against Him at His trial. HLv 402.1

The Pharisees had ever chafed under the exaction of tribute by the Romans, holding that it was contrary to the law of God. Now the spies came to Jesus as though desiring to know their duty: “Master, we know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest Thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?” HLv 402.2

Those who put the question to Jesus thought they had disguised their purpose, but Jesus read their hearts as an open book. “Why tempt ye Me?” He said, showing that He read their hidden purpose. They were still more confused when He added, “Show me a penny.” They brought it, and He asked them, “Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.” Pointing to the coin, Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” HLv 402.3

The spies felt baffled and defeated. The summary manner in which their question had been settled left them nothing further to say. Christ's reply was no evasion, but a candid answer to the question. Holding in His hand the Roman coin, He declared that since they were living under the protection of the Roman power, they should render to that power the support it claimed. But, while peaceably subject to the laws of the land, they should at all times give their first allegiance to God. HLv 402.4

Had the Jews faithfully fulfilled their obligations to God, they would not have become subject to a foreign power. No Roman ensign would have waved over Jerusalem, no Roman governor would have ruled within her walls. HLv 403.1

The Pharisees marveled at Christ's answer. He had not only rebuked their hypocrisy but had stated a great principle that clearly defines the limits of man's duty to the civil government and his duty to God. And although many went away dissatisfied, they saw that the principle underlying the question had been clearly set forth, and they marveled at Christ's farseeing discernment. HLv 403.2

No sooner were the Pharisees silenced than the Sadducees came forward with artful questions. As a class they were bigoted, yet among them were persons of genuine piety, who accepted Christ's teachings. The Sadducees professed to believe the greater portion of the Scriptures, but practically they were skeptics and materialists. HLv 403.3