Summary: Part of being Christ-like is knowing when and how to be shrewd.
Jesus’ Shrewd Side
1. A lady lost her handbag in the bustle of Christmas shopping. It was found by an honest little boy and returned to her. Looking in her purse, she commented, "That's funny. When I lost my bag there was only a $100 bill in it. Now there are five $20 bills."
The boy quickly replied, "That's right, lady. The last time I found a lady's purse, she didn't have any change for a reward."
2. Shrewdness not usually a bad thing — unless someone is cheated in the process.
3. When we deal with all sorts of people in all sorts of situations, we need to be wise, and shrewdness is typically a sub-category of wisdom. Webster defines it as, “having or showing an ability to understand things and to make good judgments : mentally sharp or clever.”
Main Idea: Part of being Christ-like is knowing when and how to be shrewd.
I. Jesus AVOIDS Answering An Explosive Question Directly (11:27-33)
A. Jesus knew how to be EVASIVE when dealing with enemies.
B. The question of the Sanhedrin was LEGITIMATE.
1. From a logical viewpoint, consider all the religious nuts and zealots these people had to deal with. Multiple people claiming to be Messiah, zealots provoking Rome to punish the Jews, multiple extreme factions within Judaism…even pastors get tired of those religiously deluded/puffed up
2. But it was different with Jesus: miracles, unique teaching, fulfilled prophecies
3. Turning over the tables had aggravated them to a new level…insults…
4. Choice: either consider His claims are trench in!
C. They were out to TRAP Him with their question as well.
D. Jesus’ authority was the same as JOHN’S.
E. Jesus traps them, forcing a SAFE rather than true answer.
The story is told of a ship’s captain during the war who was sailing along on a dark night and saw a light on a collision course. So he got his signaler to flash a message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south." The reply came back "Alter your course 10 degrees north." The captain then signaled "Alter your course 10 degrees south. I am a Commander." The reply came back "Alter your course 10 degrees north. I am a seaman third-class."
By this time the ship’s captain was getting furious. So he signaled: "Alter your course 10 degrees south. I am a battleship." The reply came back almost instantly: "Alter your course 10 degrees north. I am a lighthouse."
You never win, arguing with Jesus. Foolish to try — for us, too.
Part of being Christ-like is knowing when and how to be shrewd.
II. Jesus EXPOSES His Enemies Evil Hearts with A Parable (12:1-13)
This is not a way to win friends and influence people! We have to be selective as when to be shrewd, because, as we can see here, shrewdness can have a price tag— further angering your enemies.
Only those truly willing to humble themselves could wake up and smell the coffee.
A. A MIDRASH on Isaiah 5:1-5
Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
B. The owner is God the FATHER.
C. The tenants are the Jewish religious LEADERS.
D. The servants are the Old Testament PROPHETS.
E. The owner’s son is God’s SON, Jesus.
F. A SECOND Midrash from the Messianic Psalm, 118:22-23
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
G. The RAGE of the religious leaders who knew they were targeted (13)
Part of being Christ-like is knowing when and how to be shrewd. Being shrewd, however, can further irritate your enemies.
III. His EXAMPLE Carries Many Implications
A. We are to be SHREWD but innocent in dealing with HOSTILE people.
First, we must decide whether it is worth it! No one likes a smart Alec.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” [Matthew 10:16]