Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees and Herodians emerged early on in his public ministry. So here we find them once again putting Jesus to the test. Jesus has been causing quite a stir in Jerusalem during the Passover celebrations, acting and teaching as though He has a right to declare God’s judgment upon the place. They know, of course, that this just isn’t the case. They have sent their representatives to inquire into Jesus’ credentials time and again – and their findings? Clearly this man is not from God – he’s just another revolutionary who needs to be crucified.

So now they want to smoke Jesus out – if he really thinks he’s bringing in the kingdom of God then let’s get him to say as much and we can destroy him. “Let’s get Jesus to incriminate himself, to state what he’s really up to.” The means they use to accomplish their purpose is a carefully framed question designed to put Jesus’ claims to the test, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Regardless how Jesus responds, the Pharisees and Herodians are confident that they have him trapped. But Jesus escapes their clutches and in the process once again highlights the unique nature of the kingdom he is introducing.