The Pharisees Plot Against Jesus

 
Theme: The Pharisees plot to trap Jesus and have him arrested. Proper 24 (29)
Object: A coin with a picture of your president, king, queen, etc.
Scripture: "Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” Matthew 22:17 NKJV

Has anyone ever asked you a question that there just wasn't any way to answer it without getting yourself into trouble? That's what we call a loaded question. A loaded question is one that is worded so that a person cannot answer it without appearing to be guilty.

Here are a couple of examples of loaded questions:

  • Have you quit cheating at cards? If you answer, Yes" you are admitting that you used to cheat. If you answer, "No" you are admitting that you still cheat.

  • Do you still pick on your little brother? That is like the other question. You are either going to admit that you used to pick on your brother or that you still pick on him.

Sometimes a loaded question is asked to to try to trick a person into saying something that will get them into trouble. Our Bible lesson today is a good example of that.

Jesus was gaining great popularity among the Israelites. This was very upsetting to the religious leaders called Pharisees. They thought he was a treat to their authority. They tried everything they could think of to make Jesus look bad and yet Jesus had more and more followers every day. So, a group of Pharisees met and came up with a plot to trick Jesus into saying something that would discredit Jesus among his followers.

The people in Jesus' day were required to pay taxes to the Roman government. That was not very popular with the people. The plan was to go to Jesus and ask him his opinion about paying the taxes. So, they sent their disciples, with a few of Herod’s followers mixed in and asked him, “Teacher, we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” They were actually trying to trick Jesus, because they knew if he said, "Yes," the people would be angry. But if he said, "No," he would get into trouble with the Roman authorities.

Jesus saw right through their plan and he did a very wise thing. He asked them for a coin, then he said, "Whose picture is on this coin?"

They answered, "It is Caesar." Caesar was the Roman ruler and all taxes had to be paid to him.

Jesus then said to them, "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God."

Look at this coin. Whose picture is on it? (Adapt this part as necessary.) It is a picture of George Washington, our first president. What does it say right above his picture? It says, "The United States of America." Well, I guess that means that this coin belongs to "George" and we will have to use it to pay our taxes whether we like it or not. (This paragraph will need to be adapted to fit your own situation.)

But what about God? Jesus also said "Give to God what belongs to God." The Bible says that we were created by God and that we were created in the image of God. If we are created by God, and we were created in His image, we must belong to Him. That means we must give ourselves to Him!

Dear Lord God, help us to give you what is yours. Help us to spend our hours in acts of love and our days in doing acts of kindness. May we always obey you and give you the praise that is due. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

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