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Matthew 22:15-33, Questions for Jesus

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’
— Matthew 22:17

NL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, April 2, 2019

by Daniel D. Maurer, Clergy Stuff

Lucas Cranach, the Younger — “Women Caught in Adultery”

Lucas Cranach, the Younger — “Women Caught in Adultery”


Why were the Pharisees and scribes constantly trying to trap Jesus in his words? Yeah, I know . . . they wanted him to say something theologically wrong. But why? It’s not as if they could arrest him for blasphemy anyway. They had to get permission from the Romans to do that, which they eventually did.

I think the real reason behind trapping Jesus in his words was more insidious. The Pharisees and scribes wanted to be better than Jesus. Jesus’ popularity and his power were readily apparent—he could scarcely travel because people continually recognized him and crowded around him. The Pharisees and scribes reaction is that they were no longer the authorities for God. To return to the status quo, they had to bring Jesus down.

And that’s were it gets tricky, because I believe this same self-justification is something we do today. We want what we DO to be acceptable in God’s sight. We want to know all the right answers (pastors and seminarians are some of the worst of this bunch). Thing is, we are right and holy in God’s eyes without our posturing.

Maybe we’re not all that different than the Pharisees and scribes.

Holy God, you make me acceptable simply as I am. Guide my heart to follow your word simply because that is how you created me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

[Finish with a prayer written in the first-person or a question you pose to the reader about the text.]