Mk 12:13-17 Why So Nice?
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
Those who harm you the most are often those who were the kindest to you. They tend to inflate you before they puncture you!
I can’t exactly remember where I read it, but I do remember reading a comment from a war historian that went something like this: “A sudden burst of kindness from an antagonist is a sure sign of imminent treachery.”
We love to fatten the calf before we slaughter it. It tastes better that way. The same hold true for those who back stab you. They savor every moment, especially the last moments, before they strike and kill.
Does any of this sound familiar? Maybe you have heard a slightly modified version of this from your kids.
“Mom, you are an amazing cook….Do you think I could…?”
“Dad, you are the best dad ever!!! Can I…?
When asked to give his opinion regarding Détente, Ronald Regan once said: “Isn’t that what a farmer has with his turkey – until Thanksgiving?”
The Pharisees and the Herodians came up to Jesus and said to him, “We know that you are a truthful man.” Wow! Thank you so much! I never thought I would hear that from you. I really appreciate it. “We also know that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.” Aw shucks. That’s so kind of you. “You do not regard a person’s status…” That’s true. I don’t. Thanks for noticing.
This sudden and unexpected burst of kindness, cordiality and flattery from these Jews leaders did not go unnoticed. The disciples may have thought (naively) that they were coming around. But the Lord, who knows fallen human nature, knew better. So when the Jews suddenly began to say so many kind things about him, we knew it was a well planned trap.
If you think about it, everything they said is true! That’s not the problem. The problem is what they said underneath their breath.
“We know that you are a truthful man” [because we are not].
“We know that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion” [like we are].
“We know that you do not regard a person’s status” [like we do].
They said all the right things while they were standing for all the wrong things! Their words could be considered a type of Freudian slip, for they spoke honestly but never intended to be so. If the Lord was a fraud, did they really need to be so dishonest to prove him wrong? If the Lord was truly the Son of God, did they really think that they could trip up God?
Talk about being confused!
Their minds were twisted. Their minds were perverted. Their minds were a mess.
Give to man what belongs to man. Give to God what belongs to God. What belongs to God? Man. What belongs to man? God.
God doesn’t need our cleverness. He doesn’t need our lies, our filth or our deceptions in order to convince Him of our love for Him. If we want to defend God in our homes and in our society then all we need to do is give to God what belongs to God; that is, give Him the naked truth of ourselves and the naked truth of His Son’s love for us. Let us give to God and man our fidelity and love. That’s it.
We don’t need to be sneaky, manipulative, and dishonest. All we need to be is true and loving.