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JESUS: Test by the Jews


The Jewish elite had tested Jesus several times during his public ministry:

1. “The Pharisees and the Sadducees came and, to test him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven” (Mt 16:1).
2. “Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?’” (Mt 19:3; Mk 10:2).
3. The Pharisees, trying to entrap Jesus, asked him, “‘Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?’ Knowing their malice, Jesus said, ‘Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?’” (Mt 22:15-18).
4. A Pharisee who was a scholar of the law “tested him by asking, ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’” (Mt 22:35-36).
5. “Again he entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They (the Pharisees) watched him closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him” (Mk 3:1-2).
6. “The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him” (Mk 8:11).
7. “There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, ‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” (Lk 10:25)
8. While Jesus was in the temple area, the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery” (Jn 8:3). They asked whether they could stone her to death as per law. “They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him” (Jn 8:6).

Thus, besides the test in the desert immediately after his baptism, and at Gethsemane towards the end of his life on earth, Jesus had several tests through his adversaries. He was successful in every attempt. In the Lord’s Prayer, he taught us to pray to the Father, “do not subject us to the test, but deliver us from the evil one” (Mt 6:13).

Tests and obstacles can happen on our spiritual journey through members of our family, our friends, or foes. Jesus’ relatives did not believe in him (Jn 7:5). After the first prediction of Jesus on his passion, death, and resurrection, Simon Peter rebuked him, “‘God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.’ He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do’” (Mt 16:22-23). Such setbacks did not hinder Jesus in accomplishing his mission.


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