Editor: This week is Easter Week, also called Passion Week and Holy Week. During each day this week, Every Day with God will focus on some of the events involving Jesus on the different days of this week, which ultimately led to His death and resurrection.
Read Matthew 21:23-27 with Matthew 22:15-39
Have you ever felt manipulated in a conversation? Questioned about your motives? Painted into a corner? Jesus experienced all of that and more on Tuesday of Passion Week.
It was the day when the religious leaders questioned His authority four separate times by sending their best minds to trap Him. The reason is clear: they had already made the decision to put Jesus to death (John 11:47–53).
Imagine that… the verdict came in before the evidence was even presented! Talk about a kangaroo court! These religious leaders believed they had to catch Jesus saying something to prove He was a false teacher, because they could not condemn an innocent man before the crowds.
So these religious and legal experts asked Jesus four separate questions:
Question #1—By what authority are You doing what You’re doing? (Matt 21:23–22:14). The religious establishment identified and approved teachers in Israel, but they denied Jesus’ credibility as a rabbi. So, Jesus asked them a question they refused to answer: Was John the Baptist sent by God? He was, and he was accepted as a prophet by the people even though the Sanhedrin didn’t ordain him.
Question #2—Should we pay taxes to Rome? (Matt 22:15–22). The Jews hated that pagan Gentiles had desecrated their land and forced them to pay exorbitant taxes. They truly believed they had Jesus here, and a simple “yes” or “no” would do it. But Jesus answers with amazing wisdom: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
Question #3—Is there marriage in heaven? (Matt 22:23–33) The Sadducees thought this question was the “stumper.” They didn’t believe in a bodily resurrection or in angels because they only believed in the Torah (first five books of the Bible). So, Jesus, used the Torah, to answer their question and correct their wrong understanding.
Question #4—Which is the greatest commandment in the Mosaic Law? (Matt 22:34–40) This last question was the most complex since there were 613 commands in the Old Testament. If Jesus chose one out of the 613, He’d alienate many who disagreed with Him. Jesus sums up the entire OT law with the greatest and second-greatest commands: love God and love others… mic drop!
Four challenges—four complete defeats! Jesus sent the greatest theological and legal minds of His day home with their tails between their legs! Matthew tells us that afterwards, “No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.” (Matt 22:41).
Jesus doesn’t just know everything there is to know about everything; He knows all things from a divine perspective—a view that emanates from His holy and righteous character. Because of this, He can and should be trusted at His word, not challenged. As Paul wrote, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men” (1 Cor 1:25).