Luke 20:20-26 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.
Let us mark, for one thing, in this passage, the cloak of goodness under which some of our Lord’s enemies approached Him. We read that they “sent forth spies, who pretended to be honest men.” We read further that they attempted to trick Him by flattering words—
“Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You sincerely teach the ways of God.”
These words sounded well. An ignorant bystander would have said, “These are sincere inquirers after truth!” But all was hollow and unreal. It was the wolf putting on the sheep’s clothing, under the vain idea of deceiving the shepherd. “Their words were smoother than butter,” yet there was “war in their hearts.” (Psalm 55:21.)
The true servant of Christ must expect to meet people of this description, as long as the world stands. There never will be lacking those, who from selfish or sinister motives will profess with their lips to love Christ, while in heart they deny Him.