Reading: Matthew 22: 15-22
Verse 16: You teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
As the religious leaders begin their attempt to trap Jesus, they begin with words probably intended to lure Him into their question. While this may be their intent, the words they speak are full of truth. They begin by recognizing Jesus as a man of integrity. They have learned the hard way that Jesus always does what is right, even if it is unpopular, even if it is hard, even if it angers people. The healings on the Sabbath and the challenging words that caused some followers to walk away are the best examples that testify to the integrity of Jesus.
Then they say to Jesus, “You teach the way of God in accordance with the truth”. Ever since He was a young adolescent in the temple courts, where Jesus amazed those around Him, Jesus has always spoken for God and has always had solid truths at the core of His teachings on the scriptures and in all of His parables. Jesus’ connection to God is undeniable. He always speaks truth, even when it is a hard truth. They end their small talk by saying that Jesus is not swayed by men because He pays no attention to who they are.
The religious leaders then try and trap Jesus using a question that pertains to the secular world: paying taxes. His response reinforces all three things that they have said about Him. In saying to pay to Caesar what is his, Jesus is a man of integrity, saying to follow the ruler’s laws. In saying to give to God what is His, He is saying to follow the Law of Moses. In His answer Jesus shows no partiality. At His answer there is nothing more to be said. They simply walk away amazed.
Is this how we as Christians also see and experience Jesus? Do we honor His teachings as filled with God’s ways? Do we believe in the truth that Jesus reveals? After each encounter, do we walk away amazing, knowing that He is the only source of true life? Yes, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. This is Jesus’ offer to one and all. The invitation goes out to all. Praise be to God.