If you’re a fan of the Blackadder series then the reading in Mark12:13-27 bears some resemblance to Baldrick’s overconfident claim in the title above.
Here we have two groups that try to trick Jesus and trap him by what they think is their cleverness. They are confident Jesus will stumble and self accuse and therefore be guilty of some crime of blasphemy that deserves punishment – death.
They fail of course but later if you look forward to Mark 14:60-64 Jesus does just that. He knowingly and willingly makes the claim that he is the Christ. He knows that this sort of thing that will result in his trial and death.The high priest declares it to be blasphemy and the crowd is revved up for the Lords blood.
But in our reading the first group are the Herodians (supporters of Herod’s dynasty and by extension Rome) along with the Pharisees. They have been plotting to trap and kill Jesus for some time. Check out Mark3:6. They almost flatter Jesus with the truth and they are correct in what they say about the purity of His character (unlike their own I would say!) Jesus sees through their scheme and says so. They are amazed at his response in saying that “one must pay their obligation to the state when it does not infringe upon their obligation to God”.(NIV study note)
The second group that have a go are the Sadducees (a small group, politically astute, wealthy, upper class) who concoct a question about about a ridiculous situation based on a law in Deuteronomy 25:5-6. They are quoting scripture without understanding only to try and trap Jesus and maybe playing silly theological games with the Pharisees who they did not like.Jesus calls them out in vs24 – “they don’t know scripture or the power of God, they are badly mistaken”
I wonder sometimes if we Christians too play these games for all sorts of reasons without knowing the power of God?