What Jesus Did! 'Seeing Right Through Their Ways' — Mark 12:13-15

Thursday, August 29, 2024

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Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. "Teacher," they said, "we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don't play favorites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us — is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them, or shouldn't we?"

Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, "Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin, and I'll tell you."

— Mark 12:13-15 NLT

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 their question; they were looking for a way to trap Jesus. The followers of Herod would have demanded that the people 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, Mark 12:16-17.)

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. 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 2:13-17
  • Psalm 120:2


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Illustration of Mark 12:13-15 NLT — "Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin, and I'll tell you."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

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.