The No Win Scenario (Matthew 22:15-22)

I hate the “No-Win” scenario. It rears its head in a number of situations widely rangin from business, war, and movies. Basically any decision one makes will lead to seeming defeat.

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “ Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"
Matthew 22:15-17

This was a classic no-win scenario that Jesus Christ faced. The question was explicitly designed to make Him fail. If Jesus answered it was lawful to pay taxes to Ceasar, He would be acknowledging that Caesar was a god, since all the Roman emperors demanded worship as a deity, blaspheming the one true God which He and the Pharisees claimed to follow.  If Jesus answered it was not lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, He would be imprisoned and possibly executed for breaking the law. A no-win scenario for sure.

So how does Jesus Christ answer?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar's.” And He said to them, “ Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.
Matthew 22:18-22

Brilliant! Jesus not only answered the Pharisees, He actually won the no-win scenario!

Jesus’ answers were always on a different and higher plane of understanding. For the skeptic who doubts the divinity of Jesus, the sheer brilliance of Jesus’ discourses makes for a compelling reason to believe Him.

But ultimately, it is more than just the profound nature of His teachings. We all must decide if Jesus is who He says He is. He left no room for hedging! It was all or nothing with Him. But once you decide to accept Him as your Lord and Savior, it will be an All-Win scenario!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.