Flattery and Falsity

Matthew 22:15-16. “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent out unto Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that Thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest Thou for any man; for Thou regardest not the person of men.”

The chief priest and elders were beside themselves with fury.  Their hatred of Jesus consumed them. They could not debate Him; they could not fool Him. He read their hearts and knew exactly what they were thinking. After the parable of the marriage feast, they turned away from Him and talked quietly amongst themsleves, trying to find some way to trap Him so that they could bring legal charges against Him.

And at last, they thought they had Him!   It was a diabolical plan, and they were sure that this time He would not be able to squirm His way out of their grasp.  Once they had settled on what ought to be said to Him, they sent some of their followers, with the Herodians, to find Him and engage Him in conversation.

So unpopular was Jesus with the ruling classes that three great factions who never agreed with each other came together to try to defeat Him. The Pharisees and Sadducees held very different doctrines, and usually avoided each other piously.  The Herodians were mean, low Jews who favored the political rule and Roman authority for their own selfish reasons. As dishonest as the day is long, they would go to any lengths to attain position and authority.

With what flattery these wicked men approached Jesus, calling Him Master and acknowledging His lack of concern for place and position. They even acknowledged that He was, indeed, true.  But they were not. Their deceit rolled off them in waves as they must have surrounded Jesus, fawning on Him and pretending to respect Him.

Next week, we’ll see what question they used to try to trap Him. We’ll also look at the two other attempts these miserable men made before Jesus sent them all packing.

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