In Matthew 22 we have the incident of the Pharisees and the Herodians coming before Jesus, they are trying to trick Jesus in the area of who taxes should be paid to. “”Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (Vs. 16,17).”
These two groups saw five attributes that stood out in the nature of Jesus:
- He was recognized as a teacher – one who was competent in instructing others
- He was a man of integrity, honesty, there was a sincerity about Jesus and a consistency in His lifestyle.
- He taught the way of God in a truthful manner
- He was fearless, He was not swayed by the opinions of others
- He showed no partiality because of the position or rank of the person.
Reading the context we see that though they declared these positive attributes to be in Jesus, in reality they were only trying to trick Jesus (Vs.15), there was no desire to apply His teachings to their lives even though they declared Him to speak the truth and to rightly discern the ways of God.
Truth is not always easy to embrace, it requires an honesty of heart, humility and then it requires change. The message of Jesus required a humble recognition of sin, a putting aside of self-righteousness and a commitment to trust in Jesus’ help. For these Pharisees and Herodians it seemed easier to stay in their hypocrisy, rejecting the messenger and the message, than to change their lifestyle and values.
Are there areas in our lives where we know the truth but are unwilling to embrace it? Let’s ask God to show those areas and then ask for His strength to walk out the truth.