“Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him …” (Matthew 22:15-16)
Jesus said that the sons of this age are often more wily in regard to the things of this world than are the sons of light, and here we see an example of their cunning. Verse 15 tells us that the Pharisees plotted together as to how they might entrap Jesus. But interestingly enough, they would not actually perform the dirty deed themselves. The next verse says that “they sent their DISCIPLES to Him” to ask Jesus the loaded question of whether they should pay the tax to Caesar or not.
Experience reveals that this is often the way of the troublemaker. They do not perform the “dirty deed” themselves, but enlist some surrogate to make the actual accusation, or to make the motion, or, as in the present case with Jesus here, to ask the “loaded question”. Many who are involved in worldly affairs in business — and sadly, even many of us the church, will recognize such tactics. Often the surface questioner or accuser is not the real “brains” behind the action, but there is a more insidious, scheming person behind it, manipulating the actors for his or her own devious purpose.
Verse 18 says that Jesus “perceived their malice.” If we are wise, we will do the same thing. Part of the solution to these kinds of problems is to recognize where the evil is really coming from — and not only its human origin, but also in the ultimate, evil spiritual source behind it.