|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:15-22 The Pharisees sent their disciples with the Herodians, a party among the Jews, who were for full subjection to the Roman emperor. Though opposed to each other, they joined against Christ. What they said of Christ was right; whether they knew it or not, blessed be God we know it. Jesus Christ was a faithful Teacher, and a bold reprover. Christ saw their wickedness. Whatever mask the hypocrite puts on, our Lord Jesus sees through it. Christ did not interpose as a judge in matters of this nature, for his kingdom is not of this world, but he enjoins peaceable subjection to the powers that be. His adversaries were reproved, and his disciples were taught that the Christian religion is no enemy to civil government. Christ is, and will be, the wonder, not only of his friends, but of his enemies. They admire his wisdom, but will not be guided by it; his power, but will not submit to it.
Verse 22. - They marvelled. Well might they marvel. Their carefully laid plot, which had seemed so irresistible, was utterly frustrated. The view of the relations of Church and state set forth by Christ was novel and incomprehensible. Hitherto the two provinces had been considered identical. The emperor, as we see impressed on his coins, was Pontifex Maximus; the Jewish priesthood had a political character, and the civil power was its instrument. In Christ's theory the spheres were distinct and not to be confounded. The state compelled obedience to its enactments; the Church left the conscience free, and obedience was voluntary and enforced by no external powers. The new society stood aloof from all political interests, and was responsible alone to God, while it performed its duties. Left him. They had no answer to give. There was nothing in Christ's words that they could lay hold of; nothing treasonable, nothing unpatriotic. Baffled, though not convinced, the questioners sullenly withdrew; but they or their comrades afterwards had the effrontery to accuse Jesus of forbidding to pay tribute to Caesar (Luke 23:2).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
When they had heard these words,.... This answer returned unto them, this advice which was given them, which they could not gainsay or deny to be good,
they marvelled: were amazed and astonished, at his prudence and wisdom, in answering them, in such an unexpected and cautious manner:
they left him: being silenced, confounded, and disappointed:
and went their way: not being able to get any advantage against him, neither to bring him into contempt with the people, and alienate their affections from him; nor to charge him with sedition or treason to the Roman governor; and so had but a very indifferent account of their success, to report to them that sent them.
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