Whose image and inscription is this?… Therefore give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.Matthew 22:20, 21
We will not have to look further than the stirrings of our own heart for an explanation of our conduct. Jesus spoke a parable about the wedding banquet, and the Pharisees’ hearts were not softened, leading to repentance, but instead was hardened even further, which fueled their resentment towards Him.
The Pharisees and the Herodians did not see eye to eye. The Pharisees despised the rule of a foreign power, and the Herodians advocated the supremacy of Caesar. But their shared vision of hatred united them in their pursuit to ensnare our Lord.
The pride of the enemies of Jesus presumed their wisdom and intellect was superior to His. Together, they plotted and formulated questions they assumed Jesus would be unable to unravel, and thus they imagined they could easily trap Him by His words. Flattery is insincere praise used to further the interest of the flatterer. So with deceit in their heart, their approach was to use flattery in an attempt to draw out His pride (As if the Darling of Heaven suffered pride in His heart as they did.).
They began by calling Him teacher, but their hearts did not respect Him. They applauded His morality by saying He was truthful, but they did not believe He taught the truth of God. They praised Him for His fearlessness and impartiality, but they thought He was out for Himself. Familiar with how the pride of man operates, Jesus’ enemies were certain the flattering techniques would throw Him off guard. Interestingly, what they said was right, but the eyes of their heart could not perceive it. We should take note that when flattery begins to emerge, knowingly or unknowingly, prideful insincerity is at work to deceive. What Jesus’ enemies failed to calculate was that His brilliance could see through the flattery straight to their malice. He was able to unravel their questions and answer them in a way they never imagined He could.
We must ask for the Lord’s wisdom and knowledge so that we can see through flattery, unravel puzzling situations, understand with clarity, and can answer questions with God’s wisdom and knowledge. As we ask this Lord, we also ask for assistance in casting down our pride so that we are not enticed with the temptation of the Pharisees.
Humility is pride’s enemy. The guidance of God says wisdom comes with humility (Proverbs 11:2), and if we want to be honored, humility must come first (Proverbs 15:33, 18:12, Luke 14:10). Oh, that we would be encouraged by Christ, comforted by His love, and desire more fellowship with His Spirit! May we overflow with affection and mercy. May we no longer be driven by rivalry and conceit, but in humility, may we consider others as more important than ourselves. May we not only look out for our own interests but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4). In the name, power, and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, we ask for humility to work powerfully in us to kill our pride. Amen.
In His grace,
❀ Christward: A Hopeful and Joyful Embrace of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Available at Amazon)