Mark 12:13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
First of all, here we see once again, the Pharisees teaming up with the Herodians. These two groups do not like each other but they knew, just like we do, there is power in numbers. They knew that public opinion was against them. Jesus was popular and well-liked. The people loved him, at least for now. Public opinion is like a tide. It ebbs and flows. One way and then another. Going with the flow often means to go without yourself because conformity is the name of the game.
I find it interesting that they come to trap him in his talk. They thought they were smarter than the Son of God. Its kinda funny and disconcerting that they really felt that clever and able. But they had to do something to turn the tide of public opinion. So they come first with flattering words and then the trap:
“Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?”
The scriptures say that they marveled at his answer. It didn’t change their hearts but they were awed by him. How was he always able to answer so well?
The question they asked (the trap) it could have been anything…
The thing I find fascinating is sometimes it doesn’t matter how good an answer you give, some people will still twist your words. It would be these words twisted that they would use to accuse him. The same people who come to flatter may also be the ones who cut your throat.