13 Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Jesus to trap him in his words. 14 When they came, they said to him, “Teacher, we know you are truthful and don’t care what anyone thinks, nor do you show partiality but teach the way of God truthfully. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” 15 But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” 16 They brought a coin. “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked them. “Caesar’s,” they replied. 17 Jesus told them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him. — Mark 12:13-17
by Denise Jones
They weren’t really after the answer—they were after the entrapment. Sure, they acted like they were honoring Him with words like “teacher,” “impartial” and “truth speaker.” But they only wanted one thing: to hang Him by His own words.
It was not much different than what many believers face today. We can no longer ignore the hostility that has grown towards the Christ follower. When Facebook and YouTube ban us for the basic Christian teachings on marriage and identity, it leaves us all having to pay attention to the motives behind the questions we’re asked. Many questions raised today aren’t really because people are searching for answers; instead, they are watching for their “gotcha” moment.
When I read this passage, I can’t help but imagine myself in that “gotcha” moment when they were trying to trap Jesus. My chest tightens at the thought. I need to remember that there is nothing I have need of that isn’t available through the Holy Spirit who lives inside me. Take that in for a moment: God the Spirit resides in each of us. Wow! How often do we live as if this is true?
Isaiah 11:1-2 gives us a clear description of all that comes with the Spirit of God. He comes with wisdom and discernment. He comes with knowledge and counsel. He comes with power and the fear of the Lord. Basically, God invites you and me every day to partner with the Holy Spirit, no matter what life throws our way. Our effectiveness is not dependent on how smart we are or how capable we are. Instead, we are invited to partner with the One who is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-seeing, the One who made the stars and planets and all creation. We get to do life with Him and through Him.
Friends, we as believers live in a “gotcha” world. To be honest, apart from a great revival which I know many are praying for, the hostility we are experiencing here in the United States will only get worse. But we live with the Creator of the universe inside us. Their questions are not too difficult for Him.
So I’ll leave you with the words Jesus gave the disciples before us. “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to respond or what to say. In that hour you will be given what to say. For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” What a comfort to know He’s still got us, even in this environment of the “gotcha” moments.
- When is the last time you stopped to consider what it truly means to have the Holy Spirit living inside you? What does that mean for your day-to-day living?
- When is the last time you’ve felt someone trying to have a “gotcha” moment with you regarding your faith in Christ?
- How can you partner with the Holy Spirit and enjoy the benefits of all Isaiah 11:1-2 promises you as a believer in Jesus Christ?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.