What Jesus Did! 'Seeing Right Through Their Ways' — Mark 12:14-15

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Pharisees and Herodians went to Jesus and said, "Teacher, we know that you are an honest man. You are not afraid of what other people think about you. All men are the same to you. And you teach the truth about God's way. Tell us: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar? Yes or no? Should we pay taxes, or should we not pay taxes?" But Jesus knew that these men were really trying to trick him. Jesus said, "Why are you trying to catch me saying something wrong? Bring me a silver coin. Let me see it."
— Mark 12:14-15 NLT
Illustration of Mark 12:14-15 NLT —  Tell us: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?

Key Thought

Jesus saw through the scheme behind the question of the Pharisees and supporters of Herod. He knew their question wasn't an honest one. They weren't looking for God's answer to that question; they were looking for a way to trap him. The followers of Herod would have demanded that they pay tax to keep the Romans appeased. The Pharisees would deeply resent having to pay tax to anyone, especially the Romans. By teaming up, they thought they had Jesus trapped into an answer that would alienate one or the other. Instead, Jesus confronted them with the truth of their deception and then challenged them with the truth. (Jesus' truth, his answer, comes in the following verses.)

Today's Prayer

O Father, please give me discernment so that I can recognize the intent of people's words when they speak to me. I want to respond to people fairly and honestly. Yet, dear Father, I don't want to get bogged down in meaningless and spiteful arguments about words. Help give me wisdom in the use of words and in my ability to hear the true messages that are spoken to me. In Jesus name I ask this. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Romans 13:1-7
  • 1 Peter 2:14-18
  • Psalm 120:2

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.