Flattering Jesus (Mt 22:16-22:16)

“The Pharisees

Sent their disciples

To him,

Along with the Herodians.

They said.

‘Teacher!

We know

That you are sincere.

You teach the way of God

In accordance with truth.

You show deference

To no one.

You do not regard

People with partiality.”

 

καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν λέγοντας Διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις, καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός, οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων·

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 12:13-14, and Luke, chapter 20:21, but slightly different.  The Pharisees sent their own disciples to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν).  The Pharisees themselves did come to Jesus, but they also sent along some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν).  Who are these people?  They were the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded.  This group spoke to Jesus in flattering terms (λέγοντας).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε,).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful, since he knew the truthful way of God (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He taught truthfulness (ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις).  Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός,).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  They were buttering up Jesus with these flattering statements about how he was so sincere and truthful since he had not shown any deference or partiality to anybody.

Do not judge on appearances (Sir 11:2-11:4)

“Do not praise individuals

For their good looks!

Do not loathe anyone

Because of appearance alone.

The bee is small

Among flying creatures.

But what it produces

Is the best of sweet things.

Do not boast

About wearing fine clothes!

Do not exalt yourself

When you are honored.

The works of the Lord

Are wonderful.

His works

Are concealed from humankind.”

You should not praise people because of their good looks. On the other hand, you should not hate anyone based on their appearances alone. Take the small bee, for example. This small flying creature produces honey, the sweetest of all things. There was a premium on honey in ancient times. You should not boast about wearing fine clothes. Do not exalt yourself when you are honored. The works of the Lord are wonderful, but he has concealed them from most humans.