20 They watched Jesus and sent out spies, who pretended to be righteous, that they might trap him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the power and authority of the governor.
There are so many takeaways from this one sentence. First, we note that just because people seem righteous doesn’t mean they are. The Bible warns us that by their fruit will people be known. When “righteous” people let us down, however, we can often lose get angry and depressed. But that’s okay. Because afterward, if we obey God and forgive them instead of becoming bitter, we can move toward a healthier relationship with our fellow humans. We can move to a place similar to that of Jesus,, who didn’t “put his trust” in man, because he knew the human heart; instead he placed his whole trust in God, and loved people.
A second thing to note is that the more people try to trap Jesus, the worse it will prove for them. So we should never fear people who question God. Let them ask, seek and knock. They will be answered; they will find; the door will be opened unto them.
Lastly, the shadow but also the glory of the cross falls across these words. The religious won’t be able to trap Jesus, but that won’t stop them from delivering him up anyway–in all his innocence. Why? Because God allowed his perfect son to die, out of love for us, in order to save us from our sins. So who are we to not love God back? And who are we to not love our fellow man? We are… sinners, because none of us love God perfectly or love all of our fellow men all the time. There’s hope everlasting for us anyway; God loves us and forgives us, and there’s no snare of our enemy the devil that God cannot spring.