Tuesday: June 2, 2020
Reference: Mark 12:12-17
Imagine the story of a brilliant neurosurgeon who had never refused a single procedure but had a 100% successful surgical record with no recorded table deaths even after two decades in the operating theatre. His strength, besides the fact that he was knowledgeable, was his confidence and that made him proud. This rubbed off some colleagues the wrong way and they worked behind the scenes against him.
They successfully found a patient with an ‘inoperable’ grade 4 glioma (brain tumour) whom they referred to this surgeon. Knowing very well that his pride would influence his answer, he accepted this case and that was his first patient to pass away on the operating table. It was devastating for him but his colleagues were delighted for to them, ‘he had been brought down to earth’.
I am always fascinated by the extent to which the Pharisees went to get Jesus in trouble. It was always a dialogue worth paying extra attention to because in it, lessons abound. Today’s trap began with the use of compliments to portray a sense of admiration for what Jesus stood for, but that was all just for show, only intending to get Him to commit even further. In the end, Jesus saw right through their ploy.
However, their words played on my mind for a while: ‘Master, we know that you are an honest man and that you are not swayed by men’s opinion of you. Obviously you don’t care for human approval but teach the way of God with the strictest regard for truth—is it right to pay tribute to Caesar or not: are we to pay or not to pay?”(vs 12)
The highlight of Jesus’ integrity, alongside the fact that he remained decisive and unwavering in His proclamation of the truth were the very same things the Pharisees were counting on to land Him in trouble. That irony hit a spot because it sends this message out: ‘the very things deemed our strengths, can be manipulated by others to work against us,’ as the neurosurgeon we read about.
This is no way an invitation to paranoia, but an acknowledgement of the reality that not everyone is excited about your strengths nor will they be cheering you on. The opposite is also true, so be watchful when you are invited to show off those strengths.