211 _31 THE CLOSE OF OUR LORD'S PUBLIC MINISTRY

211 _31 THE CLOSE OF OUR LORD'S PUBLIC MINISTRY - CHAPTER...

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CHAPTER 31 505THE CLOSE OF OUR LORD'S PUBLIC MINISTRY 505A CONSPIRACY OF PHARISEES AND HERODIANS 1 505The Jewish authorities continued unceasingly active in their determined efforts to tempt or beguile Jesus into some act or utterance on which they could base a charge of offense, under either their own or Roman law. The Pharisees counseled together as to "how they might entangle him in his talk"; and then, laying aside their partisan prejudices, they conspired to this end with the Herodians, a political faction whose chief characteristic was the purpose of maintaining in power the family of the Herods, 2 which policy of necessity entailed the upholding of the Roman power, upon which the Herods depended for their delegated authority. The same incongruous association had been entered into before in an attempt to provoke Jesus to overt speech or action in Galilee; and the Lord had coupled the parties together in His warning to the disciples to beware of the leaven of both. 3 So, on the last day of our Lord's teaching in public, Pharisees and Herodians joined forces against Him; the one watchful for the smallest technical infringement of the Mosaic law, the other alert to seize upon the slightest excuse for charging Him with disloyalty to the secular powers. Their plans were conceived in treachery, and put into operation as the living embodiment of a lie. Choosing some of their number who had not before appeared in personal antagonism to Jesus, and who were supposed to be unknown to Him, the chief conspirators sent these with instructions to "feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor." 505This delegation of hypocritical spies came asking a question, in pretended sincerity, as though they were troubled in conscience and desired counsel of the eminent Teacher. "Master," said they with fawning duplicity, "we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men." This studied tribute to our Lord's courage and independence of thought and action was truthful in every word; but as uttered by those fulsome dissemblers and in their nefarious intent, it was egregiously false. The honeyed address, however, by which the conspirators attempted to cajole the Lord into unwariness, indicated that the question they were about to submit was one requiring for its proper answer just such qualities of mind as they pretendingly attributed to Him. 506"Tell us therefore," they continued, "What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?" The question had been chosen with diabolic craft; for of all acts attesting compulsory allegiance to Rome that of having to pay the poll-tax was most offensive to the Jews. Had Jesus answered "Yes," the guileful Pharisees might have inflamed the multitude against Him
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211 _31 THE CLOSE OF OUR LORD'S PUBLIC MINISTRY - CHAPTER...

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