“Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you tempt Me, you hypocrites?” Mt. 22:17-18
The Pharisees who were posing this question to Jesus had an agenda. They were trying to trap Him. If He said “No,” they could turn Him over to the Roman authorities as an insurgent. If He said, “Yes,” they could turn Him over to the Sanhedrin to answer to charges of blasphemy. James 1:13 says that, “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt any man.” So, we know that temptations don’t come from God. They are of the devil. Ever since Jesus defeated satan in the wilderness with the Word of God, he never confronted Jesus on a one-on-one again. Instead, he approached Jesus through those who hated Him and were jealous of Him. These were people who suffered from Jesus Derangement Syndrome!
Paul tells us in I Corinthians 10:13, that, with every temptation “…God will also make the way of escape…” Jesus read the agenda behind their plot, and He knew who was pulling the strings. He knew that behind every temptation there is a plot and an agenda, and the agenda is that of the devil who only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That’s what was happening here. The Pharisees were being used as pawns to serve the agenda of the devil! BUT – God opened a way of escape for Jesus. In this case, the way of escape came in the unmistakable wisdom of God! This is “the wisdom…which is pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)
So, Jesus said, “Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, ‘Whose is this image and superscription?’ They say unto Him, Caesar’s. Then saith He unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”. (Mt. 22:19-21) When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left him, and went their way. So, Jesus never answered their question. He didn’t have to. The wisdom of God revealed their hypocrisy and foiled their plot. In other words, the temptation lost its power, and they were left holding the hot potato – and they made a very embarrassing exit.
If you are being tempted, tested, or tried, just rest in God. Don’t look to the problem or your weakness, or even your lack of understanding. You don’t even have to answer the questions that come to mind. God knows where you’re at. Look for the way of escape and God will give you the wisdom you need to dissolve the temptation, expose the enemy, and show you the way out!
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