Let’s Trap Jesus ? 32nd Sunday in ordinary time – Luke 20:27-38

Placing the text in its immediate context; we know that Jesus has triumphantly entered Jerusalem to robust calls of “Hosanna.” This rabbinical Hebrew word when translated must have surely caught the ears of both the Roman occupiers as well as the Chief Priests for Hosanna simply meant “save, we pray thee.” Clearly Jesus was hailed on that first Palm Sunday by the crowds as the Messiah. Sadly, the true meaning of that word was not clearly understood by them for why else would their cries turn to, “crucify him?”

We are now in the ‘Holy Week’. The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus enters the temple (19:45) and drives those who were selling things. Since this is a religious matter the defenders of the faith within the temple take umbrage and we are told in 20:1 that the chief priest and the scribes came with the elders to question the authority of Jesus. Jesus not only refuses to answer their question he tells them a parable in which they are the villains (20:19).

Being humiliated in their very own temple, before their own congregants was too much for them to bear. So, they watch him and send spies who pretended to be honest in order to trap him (20:20). The spies having failed (20:26), the big guns are brought out; the Sadducees.

Clearly, this time they did not have a question for Jesus, as much as they had a religious riddle; the foundations of which they themselves did not believe. This was a question designed to humiliate and ridicule Jesus. In order to understand this convoluted narrative, we need to understand that the Sadducees belonged to that sect of Judaism that rejected the resurrection and angels and only accepted the first five books of Moses as authentic, among other things.

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