Sermons

Summary: The trolls may pull us down with their words, but we need to rely on his Spirit to win over them.

The Trolls and Jesus

Matthew 22:15-21,

Isaiah 45:1,

Isaiah 45:4-6,

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5.

Reflection

Dear sisters and brothers,

Today, we have a very interesting text from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 22:15-21).

Now, let us listen to the text.

“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.””

The text is a continuation of one of the series of controversies between Jesus and the representatives of Judaism (Matthew 21:23–27).

Here, we read a very polished language but with planned and evil intention to entrap Jesus.

The Pharisees:

While Matthew retains the Marcan union of the Pharisees and the Herodians in this text, he clearly emphasises the Pharisees’ part particularly.

The Pharisees alone are mentioned here, and the Herodians are joined with them only in a prepositional phrase of Matthew 22:16.

The Pharisees take alone Herodians for their own selfish motives.

Even though, they are divided in their ideology of paying the tax.

The Pharisees cunningly planned how to entrap Jesus.

Whom did they use for their trap?

The Pharisees used their own disciples.

The world is divided into right and left ideologies.

It differs from country to country and place and place.

Whether it is right or left, it always has followers.

These followers blindly believe whatever their leaders tell them without using their own God given reasoning faculty for their good and the good of the other.

The leaders not only make use of these followers to achieve their own ends but also feed them with more negativity rather than positive opinions.

These kinds of followers are very dangerous to the society and at the same time they cannot be a channel of human development and growth.

By mentioning the followers of the Pharisees, Matthew emphasises that the followers of Christ Jesus are not blind followers.

The followers of Christ Jesus are like Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1) (Isaiah 45:4-6):

“Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus,

whose right hand I grasp,

subduing nations before him,

and making kings run in his service,

opening doors before him

and leaving the gates unbarred:

For the sake of Jacob, my servant,

of Israel, my chosen one,

I have called you by your name,

giving you a title, though you knew me not.

I am the LORD and there is no other,

there is no God besides me.

It is I who arm you, though you know me not,

so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun

people may know that there is none besides me.

I am the LORD, there is no other.”

The followers of Christ Jesus are called by God and experience Jesus personally in their everyday lives by being with him in prayer and been sent out with the Gospel by imitating Jesus in their lives.

Entrap him in speech:

The question that they will pose is intended to force Jesus to take either a position contrary to that held by the majority of the people or one that will bring him into conflict with the Roman authorities.

The Pharisees fought with Jesus in speech (cunning way or evil way) not by the truth.

The disciples of the Pharisees use the sugarcoated words like that of:

“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.”

The followers of the Pharisees, come with the falsehood.

The followers of Christ Jesus, come with the truthfulness.

The followers of the Pharisees, use the sweetened words to entrap Jesus.

The followers of Christ Jesus, use the personal experience of resurrection in their lives and speak black and white the message of the gospel like the prophets.

The Pharisees and the Herodians are the trolls in Jesus’ time.

They trolled Jesus.

Who is the troll?

The troll: one, who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.

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Louisa D'souza

commented on Oct 15, 2020

Jesus calls each one of us to be truthful. Thank you for such profound message and Motivating us stay connected to Him. Praise be to God🙌🙏.

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