Tuesday, May 3, 2016

faceplanting Pharisees

Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question.
Luke 20:49-40

In Luke 20 the Pharisees, Saducees, and scribes combined their opposition to confront the authority of Jesus. They failed spectacularly. I mean they do a total faceplant humiliating fail worthy of any highlight reel. They attempt to challenge the increasingly popular authoritative teaching of Jesus. Luke lets us know that the first few days of Passion Week are spent in the temple where Jesus gathers larger crowds each day with His teaching. The religious authorities are outraged at this and send their best to try to humiliate Jesus in front of the crowds. Jesus turns the tables on them every time!

They begin with the direct assault, asking Him for the source of His authority (Luke 20:1-8). Jesus asks them in return to give an opinion on the ministry of John the Baptist, another very popular teacher in Israel. Knowing that any answer they give would entrap them, they refuse to dialogue with Jesus. Faceplant #1!

So then the leaders plant spies in the crowds (Luke 20:18-26) and try to get Jesus in political trouble with a question about paying Roman taxes, a sure fire crowd shaking topic reminiscent of today's conservative talk radio shock jocks. Jesus uses a Roman coin as a visual aid (as if teaching children) and offers true wisdom... give to Caesar what is already his and give to God what is always His. Dumbfounded by Jesus' answer, the leaders faceplant a second time.

Faceplant number three is a classic example of wasted theological time. They call up their big gun Ph.D theologians now for the conundrum question (Luke 20:27-40). The liberal theologian Saducees concoct an elaborate theological mind-twister involving the resurrection and a woman who was widowed seven times. Using the logic of the false premise, Jesus deftly pulls the rug out from under their flimsy assertions, showing the ludicrous presumption they made of marriage after the resurrection. Like Wiley Coyote in a Roadrunner cartoon, these "brilliant minds" are left hanging in midair over a cliff  fall with nothing left to support them. After this third epic fail, they finally give up on trying to trip up Jesus. It wasn't worth any further humiliation!

Don't think you can out think Jesus, ever! He is the only wise God and He will show your questions to be flimsy in the power and graciousness of His truth. Jesus, indeed, You have spoken well. I will believe You.

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