Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, specifically the Pharisees were viewed as a bunch of schemers due to their actions. In this particular instance, we see them trying to lure Jesus to fall into their trap. They think that Jesus were some kind of armature politician. Nonetheless, Jesus and his powerful wit manage to turn the table on his attackers, leaving them without anything to say. In Matthew 22, the opponents of Jesus come up with the subject of taxes. The disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians are sent to Jesus and they first begin by saying, “Teacher, we understand your sincerity and how you always treat God with truthfulness, and show deference to no one, since you regard people with partiality. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” Lucky enough, Jesus had known their malice and asked them, “Why are you putting me to the test, you charlatans?” then instead of going ahead and giving them the answer, Jesus asks them to him the coin used for the tax (New Oxford Annotated Bible). They get into Jesus’ trap and they bring denarius, then Jesus asked the, whose head is this, and whose title? They are fair enough and answers, “The emperor’s.” At this juncture Jesus had known their intention, and Jesus instead of giving them an open answer, he tells them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God’s.” The Pharisees after hearing this, they left and went away because they were amazed.
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Secondly, when interpreting Jesus’ response it important to begin with a diagnosis, like in the above paragraph. In this second one, I still continue with a diagnosis by looking at what the law condemns. It is a fact that Pharisees and the Herodians have a problem with Jesus. This is true because the city was stirred up upon Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (21:10). The political and religious leaders were uncomfortable with Jesus’ cleansing the temple (21:12-13). Nonetheless, Jesus gained popularity and crowds of people regarded him as a prophet (21:46). In that sense, the teaching and how he manages to attract his followers is a threat to political and religious leaders. As much as the Pharisees and Herodians make strange allies, they aim at joining forces to expose Jesus as a false prophet. These disciples are sent to Jesus with the intention of flattering and disarming Jesus (Hagner 637). They have no interest of learning from Jesus, how much they should give to God and what to offer to the government.
They are interest in posing a trickster question to Jesus before the crowds so that the crowds may view Jesus differently. When they ask Jesus concerning what he thinks, they think they have trapped him. This is because, if Jesus answers, “Yes,” Jesus is likely to alienate himself from his several supporters who are against the Romans and ostracized their taxes. If he answers, “No,” Jesus is likely to give his opponents a charge that they may take to Pontius Pilate. Surprisingly, Jesus gives a different answer to the Pharisees and they are left without any option, but to leave.
In a sophisticated finding, focusing on the inside problem; the Pharisees are full of deceit before Jesus. Apart from having the religious conviction and opinionated beliefs of the Pharisees threatened, they treat Jesus as their enemy. This is evident when we look at the question that Jesus asks them, “Why are you putting me into test, you hypocrites?” Jesus understands that the Pharisees are evil and they are likely to scheme him” (New Oxford Annotated Bible). The powers of Jesus clearly help him to see through the Pharisees’ excessive and insincere flattery. Jesus sees the evil motives behind their question. Although they know that Jesus is a prophet of God and the God’s Messiah, they are determined to get rid of him. The Pharisees reimburse services that are lip to God, while they serve their political and religious leaders full of ill vices appropriately. According to Bill, “The living Word of Gods speaks to them, but they are not willing to listen, but instead, they are rejecting him and conspiring against him.”
In the ultimate analysis, looking at the peripheral predicament; they are condemned instead of Jesus. The Herodians and the disciples of the Pharisees suffer being setback by the answer that Jesus gave them (22:19-21). It becomes even worse on their side because this answer makes them to leave Jesus alone after failing in their mission. This is because they are unable to condone this answer and they are forced to go away (22:22). “Incongruously, the very law of God that they are sent to employ in entrapping Jesus works against them” (Chris liu 2).
Looking at the prognosis, it is clear that the Gospel saves. Nobody succeeds in condemning Jesus since Jesus is like eternal solution. It is true that people like the Pharisees are the ones that Jesus came to save from their wicked beliefs. On Good Friday, Jesus stands alone in the presence of the Pharisees or the church and the state (Herodians), who conspires against him. On the same day, Jesus obeys God’s will by giving himself to the condemnation against the church. On Easter Sunday, God does miracle of raising Jesus from the dead! Upon his death, it becomes apparent that Jesus overcomes the power of the Law to condemn. The cross carried by Jesus is a manifestation of the tricks and traps the power of sin and eventual death. As Saint Paul reminds us, “There is consequently now no denunciation for those who support the works and miracles of Jesus” (Roman 8:1).
In an advanced prognosis, looking at the internal solution; Jesus is Genuine in his answer. The statement is a powerful Gospel that makes his enemies run away without being satisfied with his response. This is because it turned disciples of the Pharisees and Herodians to becoming disciples of Jesus. Jesus brings Good News to people who conspire against him and he does this through the Gospels that he teaches to both believers and nonbelievers. Through the power of Holy Spirit, Jesus is capable of turning the hypocritical faith of people and replacing it with Godly motives. Through having faith in Jesus, peoples sins are taken away and replaced with righteousness, Jesus is capable of taking away death and replacing it with life.
In the final scenario, focusing on peripheral solution; Jesus is portrayed as safe. Jesus is no longer seen as a threat again unlike on the onset. People after despising him, turn around and judge him as the only faithful person sent by God to ensure that humankind are righteous. This interpreted statement from the Gospel of Matthew, clearly have some impact on people’s lives today. There are moments when the church is usually behind the state and there are times when the church must resist the state. Nevertheless, distinction between such times is never clear. Moreover, the answer of whether to support the state or the church is never final, since it can be used to lure an individual towards being condemned. It is important to raise the issues that affect humankind today again and again to address the emerging situations. Hitherto, having trust in Jesus helps the disciples to ensure that they have the experience of giving God things that are God’s and giving emperor things that belong to the emperor. Today, this statement helps many Christian believers since even in the times when they are in midst of uncertainty, they feel safe in Jesus. Again, it is noteworthy that when disciples are called upon to make numerous pronouncements, more so in cases whereby church or state are work against Christianity.
To conclude, even nowadays Christian religion has gained popularity among different countries and nations around the globe. The main point the Jesus taught us is the necessity of the unity between spiritually united people of different countries. He taught us to respect, love and care of each other as we care of our families and of ourselves. The money we get we should share with others, like also the love and care we get. This is the main point of Jesus’ statement about differentiating God’s and Emperor’s. This statement is of great actuality, even nowadays, when some rulers of the world who got unique power at people, not share their love and care of their nations, but show the care of money only. The things should get changed. People should not be fully dedicated to material things and money.
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