- Sermon Notes
Realize Your Reality
Read: Matthew 22:15-22
I. Turn to Jesus, Not the Trap
Matthew 22:15-17, Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?”
- The attempt to set the trap, is done by two groups who come to Him with the question.
- The Pharisees were the religious elite of the day. They believed in the strict observance of oral traditions that were passed down as well as the written Law, the Torah.
- They did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, even though He had performed many miracles and fulfilled many prophesies.
- The Herodians were a political party who supported the Roman backed Herodian dynasty. Because they supported Herod, they supported the rule of Rome which had put the Herods in place.
- These were the two groups coming to trap Jesus, they were two groups on opposite ends of the political and philosophical spectrum, but they united in opposition of Jesus.
Illus. Get them.
- From verse 15, we understand that the plan was plotted by the Pharisees. They would send their disciples and the Herodians. They would give them what to say and when to say it, and no doubt as soon as Jesus entangled Himself in His talk, they would close the trap.
Matthew 22:16, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?
- Both parties are hoping for an answer they can jump on. It is a set up.
- If He answered “no” that they should not pay the tax, The Herodians would charge Him with the treason against Rome. Treason being the offence of active to overthrow a government.
- If He were to answer, “yes” pay the tax, the Pharisees would accuse Him of disloyalty to the Jewish nation, and He would lose the support of the multitudes, which we know is the only thing holding them back from arresting and trying Him at this point (Mt. 21:46).
- So, to pay or not to pay…Yes, or no? What do you think Jesus?
Matthew 22:18, But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?
- Jesus knew they were coming to test Him and answers their question with a question of His own.
- The test they were bringing was to trap Him, but Jesus isn’t falling for the trap. He reveals that He is aware of what they are doing.
- Have you ever met someone who could handle tough questions? Their response just seems to be the perfect response at the perfect time.
- Well, Jesus was and is that, and the powerful think for me and for you if you are in Christ is that He lives within us (Gal. 2:20).
- Paul asked the question of the Corinthians church, “do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?” (2 Cor. 13:5).
- And this is important for us to realize the reality of because if Christ lives in us, then we need to turn to Him when the tough questions of our day begin. And friends, they have begun.
Illus. Interview Questions.
Illus. Loaded Questions.
Matthew 5:43-47, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
- Though we see Jesus’ words clearly, we also understand the ease with which we can become entrapped, so we must turn to Jesus, not the trap.
Ask for direction…
Psalm 25:4-5, Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.
Ask Him to change you and lead you…
Psalm 139:23-24, Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
And ask Him for wisdom…
James 1:5, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 3:17, The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
- We need to turn to Jesus not the trap, because though we know there is a way of our day, Jesus will give us wisdom in order to live His way, no matter the day.
Philippians 3:20a, Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…
- Consider the Construction of Your Citizenship
- So the Pharisees and Herodians, is it lawful to pay the poll-tax to Caesar, or not? Jesus exposes His awareness of their malicious motives and then responds.
Matthew 22:18-21, Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
- The coin used for the tax in question was a denarius, which amounted to the daily wage for a soldier or common laborer in that day.
- The Pharisees and Herodians thought they had Jesus trapped, but they did not.
- First, He disarms the Herodians by talking about the coin both they and Pharisees were carrying and using to pay for things . They both used it as currency, to pay what they owed in different ways…
- It was a system stamped and put in place by Caesar, the coins had his image on them.
- Jesus was declaring that the image on the coin declared who the denarius belonged to.
- It was the image on the coin that Jesus used to conclude the “who” it belonged to.
- Then He said, “render to Caesar what is Caesars..”
- The term used by Jesus for “render” means to pay or give back. It carries the idea of responsibility and obligation for something that is not optional.
- Jesus is saying yes, it is lawful and right to pay the poll-tax to Caesar, because that is Caesars, it belongs to the that which is associated with his domain.
- Jesus made no qualifications, or exceptions. Even toward rulers that were blasphemous, centered on idolatry. Even though the rulers in place would put Him to death in two short days.
- The government in place, the very government that was going to put the Son of God to death, was to be paid taxes by God’s people.
- Jesus says, this is the construction of your Citizenship, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
1 Peter 2:13-15. 17, Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
- No matter what comes our way, we are anchored in the hope found in Jesus.
Romans 13:1-2, Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
- Let us drill down a bit on the word subjection, it is a Greek word “hypotasso,” it is two words put together; hypo, which means under; and tasso, which means to line up.
1 Timothy 2:1-4, First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
- The coin in question had and image of Caesar on it. Give to Caesar what is Caesars.
- And to God what is God’s. The question then comes for you and for me, what is God’s?
- Or I will ask it this way, whose image is imprinted on your life?
- Make Clear Whose Image You Bear
- Jesus was not just answering the question about the Roman poll tax; He was challenging them to consider their relationship with God.
- Give to God what is God’s. What of ours is Gods? All that we are. It’s all His.
- Caesar could claim their tax money but had no claim to their souls. Why? Because humanity does not have the image of Caesar imprinted on them.
Genesis 1:26-27, Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
2 Corinthians 3:18, And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Romans 11:36, From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Romans 12:2, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He *said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.