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After Jesus cleared the temple of all the people selling stuff in God’s House, the blind and the lame came to Jesus in the temple to be healed.
Jesus sat in the temple courts and people would gather around to soak in the good news of His words. Little children were still dancing around, probably still happy from the parade, shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
But when the religious leaders and experts in the law saw the wonderful things Jesus did and heard the children singing, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became offended and said to Jesus, “Do You hear what those children are saying? Stop them.”
But Jesus said to them, “Have you never read David’s song that says, ‘You have made the little children and babies sing perfect praises’?”
This frustrated those people who pretended to be the experts. Grrrrr. They said, “Who gave You permission to do all the things You’re doing? Tell us!”
Jesus answered them, “Sure, I’ll tell you. But if you want to know, first you have to answer My question. Who gave John the Runner permission to baptize people for repentance. Is baptism Heaven’s idea? Or just something people came up with on their own?”
“Uhhhhh…” thought the phony pretenders. Now they were stuck. They huddled together whispering among themselves. “If we say, ‘John the Baptist was from Heaven,’ Jesus will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe John?’ But if we say, ‘It was only people’s idea,’ then this whole crowd of people will be mad at us, because they all believe John was a prophet from Heaven. Whatever answer we say will make us look bad in front of all these people.”
Do you see how full of guile, and trickiness and deceit these phonies are? Totally opposite of Nathanael. All they cared about was what others will think of them. They don’t really want to know what’s TRUE, and they don’t really want to be honest about what they think! Yuck!
The whole crowd stood waiting to hear their answer. So the religious men just said to Jesus, “We don’t know where baptism came from.”
So Jesus said, “Oh, you don’t know, do you? Well, that’s fine. But if you won’t answer My question, then I won’t answer yours by telling you who gave Me the authority to do these things.”
Well, that certainly made those pretenders look foolish. They stomped off.
But they didn’t give up easily. They tried again to trick and trap Jesus into saying something wrong. This time they sent spies to Jesus pretending to have an honest question, but they really didn’t.
“Jesus, we know You speak only what is right and true and that You judge fairly and correctly. So tell us, is it really right for us to pay tax money to the king Caesar who rules over us?”
(This was a trick question because most of the crowd did not waaaaant to have to pay tax money to the king Caesar. But it was also against the laws of the land to say anything bad against the king. They thought their question had surely trapped Jesus.)
But Jesus simply replied, “Why are you trying to trap Me?” Then Jesus said, “Someone hand Me a coin.”
Someone pulled a coin from their pocket and handed it to Jesus. On the coin was the picture of the king’s face.
“Whose face is on this coin?” Jesus asked.
“The king Caesar!” the people replied.
“Okay then,” said Jesus, “give to Caesar the stuff that’s his. But give to God what belongs to God!”
The spies that had been sent were stunned — so stunned they couldn’t even think of another word to say. But the people were delighted at Jesus.
Next some men came to Jesus who didn’t believe that after someone died on earth that they would rise again to live in the unseen realms. So they came up with this looooong, big, complicated story to try to confuse everyone.
But Jesus cut through all that complicated stuff with the sword of His mouth. “Moses made this all clear when he told us what God said at the burning bush. God said, ‘I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ (God didn’t say “I WAS the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He said, “I AM.”)
“God is not the the God of the dead, but of the living! You are badly mistaken!”
On that day, every kind and every type of religious leader or expert had tested or tried to trap Jesus. And after all that, all they could say was, “Teacher, that was a really good answer.”
And from then on, no one dared to ask Jesus anymore questions like that.
And the people were delighted, mesmerized, and in wonder at Jesus. No one’s got it like our Jesus! So when you have questions, real questions, I hope you know by now Who to ask.