READ: Matthew 22:15-46
THINK: Throughout His ministry, Jesus faced deception and trickery from the religious leaders of His day. In their attempt to satisfy God in their own way, they completely overlooked Jesus' true identity and purpose. In fact, they took offense at Him for challenging their positions of power and way of life. As a result they tried to use insincere flattery and their own interpretations of the law in an attempt to trap Jesus by His own words. If He came across as too supportive of the Roman government, He might alienate himself from the people who felt oppressed by that government. But if He appeared to defy the Romans, they could accuse Him of rebellion or treason. But Jesus saw through their deceit and gave replies that silenced His critics.
RESPOND: Why did the religious leaders and others try to flatter Jesus with smooth words while trying to trick Him into saying something incriminating? How was Jesus able to deflect their questions and avoid their trap? How did knowing God's Word help Him? In what sense are all of God's laws and messages summed up in the commands to love God completely and love others selflessly? What does it mean to "love your neighbor as yourself"? (See 22:39 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to always keep you honest with Him. Pray that He will help you retain His Word so that it can help you overcome deception. Ask God to strengthen and deepen your love for Him and to reflect His love in your motives, attitudes, words and actions toward others.
ACT: Do something completely selfless for at least two people today. Put their concerns, needs or interests ahead of your own and expect nothing in return. Treat everyone you encounter the way you would prefer to be treated. Make this your regular practice as a means of honoring God.
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