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  • Writer's pictureChristian Insights 4 You

Ever been asked a sneaky question?

Updated: Feb 20

Description: Some people questioned Jesus just to cause him trouble. His answers astounded them. He’ll willingly guide us when we’re unsure what to do.

If you've ever been asked a really sneaky question, you've probably felt your brain turn slowly to mush.

It’s bad enough if you’re facing only one person, but imagine dealing with such questions in front of a crowd, especially when you know the intention is to cause trouble. Jesus often found himself in such situations, facing tough questions aimed at tricking or discrediting him.

How Jesus turned the tables

One example involved a question about whether it was right to pay the poll-tax to Caesar. A sneaky question with potential pitfalls – a no would anger the Romans, while a yes would likely turn away his supporters.

Jesus calmly turned the tables on his questioners. Instead of directly answering, he asked about the coin's image and inscription. He might also have asked: why supposedly pious Jews were carrying around coins bearing an idolatrous image of the emperor of their nation’s political oppressors, but he didn’t. Having been told that the coin’s image and inscription were those of the emperor, his response was clever and unassailable. He told them to give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s (Matthew 22.21). His ability to navigate these challenges astounded his opponents.

Jesus does it again

In another scenario, the Sadducees asked a question about a particularly unlucky woman. First, she married the eldest of seven brothers, but he died leaving no children. This meant the next brother in line was obliged to marry her, but he too died, leaving no children. This pattern continued until she’d married all seven brothers, then she finally died herself. The Sadducees asked a seemingly unanswerable question about her marital status in the afterlife, as she’d been married to seven men (Matthew 22.23-28).

Even though they had asked their question, they didn’t really care about the answer, mainly because they didn’t believe in life after death. They had figured that the resurrection was an area where they could make Jesus’ teaching look ridiculous – but they’d picked the wrong guy.

Jesus skilfully pointed out their misunderstanding by referring to God's words in Exodus, stating that God is the God of the living, not the dead (Matthew 22.31.32). This silenced the Sadducees, revealing their refusal to understand.

Our way forward

When faced with tricky questions, Jesus didn't tie himself in knots; instead, he demonstrated wisdom and clarity. The message for us is that when confronted with challenging inquiries, we can turn to the One who knows all the answers. While our responses may not completely stump others, we can trust that God is there, ready and able to guide us.


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