Catholic Courier

Posted: November 11, 2007

Last Updated: December 17, 2009

Courier illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers

Chief priests, Sadducees try to trick Jesus

By Joe Sarnicola/Contributing writer

Jesus was teaching near the temple when some of the scribes, chief priests and elders approached him. “Tell us,” one of them said, “by what authority are you doing these things? Or who is the one who gave you this authority?” Jesus knew his questioners were trying to trick him into giving an answer they could use against him so he used wisdom when he replied. “I shall ask you a question. Tell me, was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin?” The men were afraid of Jesus’ question. If they said John’s baptism was of heavenly origin, Jesus would ask why they did not believe him. If they said it was of human origin, the people, who loved John, would be very angry. So they told Jesus they could not tell from where John’s baptism came. And Jesus said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Later, Jesus was challenged by some of the chief priests and scribes. For a second time they tried to use trickery against Jesus. One of them asked Jesus, “Is it lawful for us to pay tribute to Caesar or not?”
Jesus saw through the trap the man was trying to set for Jesus, so he said, “Show me a denarius; whose image and name does it bear?”
“Caesar’s,” came the answer.
So Jesus said, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” The man and his companions had no reply to Jesus’ answer.
Sadducees also were there, and they did not believe in the resurrection. They asked Jesus about one of the laws written down by Moses about a man who died without leaving any children. His widow remarried several times, but died childless. “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?” they asked Jesus.
“The children of this age marry and remarry,” Jesus told them, “but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. ... That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” “Teacher, you have answered well,” the Sadducees said.
1. Who were some of the people who tried to trick Jesus?
2. What did Jesus say about Caesar and God?