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The Trap

Briefing: What does the government require of you? Since most law enforcement officers work for a government agency, we are required to do quite a bit.

Dispatch (Assignment): What does your department policy say about religion in the workplace? Read Matthew 22:15-22.

On the Street: The Pharisees have been trying to publicly embarrass Jesus and find fault with Him for months. They must have met and discussed for hours on end how they were going to come up with a way to trip Him up. They have been publicly embarrassed by Jesus every time they have tried to question Him. They could not afford any more blunders. They must have gotten really excited when they came up with this plan. First, they would get someone else to make this next attempt in case Jesus finds a way out of it. That way they could avoid another humiliating defeat.

Secondly, the Herodians where hoping to gain a new ally in the battle against Jesus. The Pharisees did not like the Herodians because they supported Rome. The Pharisees were extreme nationalists, but as the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my ally.

They think they have finally devised the perfect plan. They would get the Herodians to ask Jesus if the Jews should pay taxes or not. If He says yes, then the Pharisees could paint Him as friendly to Rome and pit the Jews against Him. If He says no, they could turn Him over to Rome as a traitor who publicly told the Jews not to pay their taxes. They must have been really excited about their “foolproof plan”.

How do you separate your loyalty to your job and employer from your loyalty to your heavenly Father? Can you be loyal to both? Yes. Paul lays it out in Romans chapter 13. I am not just a law enforcement officer, I am a Christian law enforcement officer.

Jesus asks whose inscription is on the coin. When they tell Him it is Caesar’s, Jesus tells them to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar. The next question begs to be asked, whose inscription is on your heart. If it is not God, it is time to re-prioritize your life and loyalty.

Highlights from this Read: The Pharisees are beginning to get desperate. “Politics makes strange bedfellows” is the saying that comes to mind. The Pharisees are teaming up with a hated enemy and this would not be the last time they would find themselves getting into bed with the enemy. Look for them to side with Barabbas in chapter 27.

Investigational Resources: For other gospel accounts, see Mark 12:13-17 and Luke 20:20-26. Romans 13:1-7 fits this passage like a hand in a glove.

Officer Safety Principle: Jesus wants more than just our loyalty, He wants our lives, so He can save us from death.

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!