Beckett: When Jesus’ Words Strike Us Dumb

In Luke 20:19-26, the scribes and chief priests sent people to spy on Jesus and pretend to be sincere in order to trap Him and turn Him over to the authorities (vv. 19-20). They did this because they had perceived the Parable of the Wicked Tenants Jesus had just old them was about them (vv. 9-18), and they did not like the fact that Jesus was strongly insinuating they were the wicked tenants. So, perhaps in a phony or sarcastic tone of voice, the spies said, “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?” (vv. 21-22). Yet just as the scribes and chief priests had perceived Jesus was talking about them, Jesus perceived their crafty scheme. So, He said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (v. 25). Stunned by His answer, “they became silent” (v. 26). They were struck dumb.

What words from Jesus have struck you dumb? It could be something you’ve read in your daily Bible reading, or heard in the liturgy, or something your pastor said in the sermon. For me, it’s always the same words no matter how many times I read them, “But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are Mine'” (Isaiah 43:1). (Since Jesus is Yahweh incarnate, these are still the words of Jesus, who is our Redeemer.) It’s those three simple words, “You are Mine,” that always leave me speechless. I am His. You are His. I belong to the God of the universe!

The Pillars of Creation | Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach

When we see amazing, new photographs of space, the response of many is despair over how insignificant we are from the realisation of just how minuscule we are compared to the rest of the universe. Yet when I see those beautiful photos, besides the Psalms that talk of the heavens declaring the glory of God (e.g., Psalm 19:1), those words of our Creator always come to mind, “You are Mine.” Thus, I think, “Wow. Look at all those star clusters and galaxies. And to think that I am His! That He treasures me, bag of worms that I am, over these gems in the sky—wow!” It truly is ineffable. I am left dumbstruck.

To be sure, the spies were struck dumb for entirely different reasons—they were astonished by Christ’s wisdom and could not think of anything to say against Him in their unbelief. Yet for His saints, His words can strike our faith dumb for gracious reasons.

Perhaps His words from Luke 20:25 above are what leave you dumbstruck. “But taxation is theft!” Yet the Lord responds, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” He said what He said; He did not stutter. What can we say to such infinite wisdom?


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