The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
Jesus used the title, “hypocrites”, quite a bit during His three years of His earthly Ministry. Or, at least, He’s quoted as using it often – especially around the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus was quite disappointed that His earthly Priests were regularly getting it wrong when it came to who He was and why He had come. Jesus had raised people from the dead, healed all kinds of physical and Spiritual ailments, and fed thousands with nothing but a few fish and loaves of bread. And, yet, the Priests were so caught-up in their own worlds that they failed to see the Promised Messiah right there in their midst while He was literally fulfilling all of the Messianic Prophesies from the Old Testament. It got so bad that, in one final “test” of Jesus’ Authority, they had sunk the level of debating with Jesus about taxes. Lazarus had walked out of the tomb after Jesus called him to do so and there they were still talking about trivial, worldly things like coins, taxes, etc.? He was furious and disappointed. He was walking towards His Cross (and our Grace) and many people just couldn’t see Him for who He was (and is). But, if we’re really being honest, isn’t that often us? God is acting in all of our lives all of the time and we often fail to notice Him – and, not making Him the center of all that we do. If we look out of our windows, into our mirrors, into the eyes of others, etc., how can’t we see Him? But, just like the Pharisees and Sadducees, we, too, get caught-up in ourselves and our own little worlds. It’s hard to focus externally when we’re get focused internally. So, let’s be sure to keep our focus on Him by focusing on things that are good, true, noble, trustworthy, etc. (Philippians 4:8) and remembering Who made those things (and Blesses us with them each and every day). And, let’s try to not be like Adam in the Garden of Eden (who fell into a bit of a “self-pitty-party” at the hands of satan complaining that he was lonely when he had God, creation, the Angels, etc. completely surrounding him)…always remembering that God has plan for our lives…and so does satan.