[Trying to trap Jesus, the Pharisees said to him:] "Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
But Jesus knew their evil motives. "You hypocrites!" he said. "Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax." When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, "Whose picture and title are stamped on it?"
"Caesar's," they replied.
"Well, then," he said, "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God."
His reply amazed them, and they went away.
— Matthew 22:17-22 NLT
The trap is set for Jesus. Get him in one of those governmental "Catch 22" questions where his answer is wrong no matter what he says. If he says to pay taxes, the people will reject him. If he says to not pay taxes, then he has broken the law and can be arrested by the Romans.
But notice how Jesus avoided the trap and turned his ambush into a great victory for truth.
- He called their bluff by pointing out the trick to everyone.
- He asked them a question about truth.
- He gave a principle rather than a law so they had to wrestle with their own hearts instead of blaming some teacher's opinion on this issue!
Perhaps we cannot be as wise as Jesus in your answers to difficult questions, but we can always speak the truth and trust the Lord to give us his right words to say (Matthew 10:19; Luke 12:11).
Holy God, please give me the grace and wisdom to gently answer those who attack me. I want to display your truth and character no matter how an enemy's "fact finding" mission turns out. I want to speak of you no matter the consequences, and I want to do so in a way which brings you glory and brings Jesus closer to those with whom I share your message. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.