Matthew 22:17-21 – "Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (NIV)
I enjoyed reading the book, The Apologetics Of Jesus, by Norman L. Geisler and Patrick Zukeran. In it, the authors describe the various styles of arguments Jesus used in responding to the criticism of His opponents. Jesus, being fully aware of their evil motives, exposed the absurdities, contradictions, and fallacies in their deliberations. But what inspires me the most is the profound wisdom of Jesus in handling the horns of a dilemma, a predicament in which any answer is wrong – in other words, a Catch 22.
No matter how often I read today's Scripture, I am always intrigued by the depth of insight and intuition demonstrated by our Lord's reaction to His adversaries. Even they were astonished by His knowledge, authority, and command of the situation.
Reflecting on this powerful example of Jesus' understanding, I turn to the pages of Proverbs for a wonderful devotional study which discusses the value of wisdom and how it can be applied to our daily lives. The following verses are just a few Scriptural nuggets for consideration (NIV). Proverbs 8:11-12 personifies wisdom and describes her value as being priceless: "For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. I wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion." And then, Proverbs 4:6 encourages us to embrace her, with this promise: "Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you." Proverbs 9:10 explains how to obtain this invaluable gem: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
So if we find ourselves faced with the horns of a dilemma, not only in matters pertaining to faith but in the natural course of everyday communication, let us look to Jesus for wisdom and make His Word a part of our daily living. Then, He will guide us with knowledge to apply the appropriate response.
Prayer: Father, open the gates of heaven and pour out the blessings of Your wisdom. Guide us with understanding, fill our hearts with knowledge, and give us the strength to do Your will. In Jesus' holy name. Amen.
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