This Complete-A-Project Bible Search activity is for teacher
and students (grades 4-6) working together. Use the Bible to answer the
questions on the activity sheet [CLICK HERE]. This Bible Search is based on
* This Gospel begins with
some Herodians and some
disciples of the Pharisees asking
Jesus a question.
* The Pharisees are respected religious leaders and teachers in the time
of Jesus. The Herodians are members
of the court of King Herod, who rules
over a part of Palestine during this time. Caesar
is the Roman emperor who rules over a big part of the world in the time of
Jesus, including all of Palestine.
* The disciples of the
Pharisees and the Heordians are being big hypocrites when they ask Jesus
the question in this Gospel. They pretend to want an answer to a difficult
question. What they really want is to trap Jesus. They hold malice in their hearts toward him.
* The Pharisees and Herodians
dislike Jesus because he knows they are hypocrites.
He knows they are jealous of him and mistrustful of his popularity. He knows
they dislike his teachings. They think that being rich and powerful gives them status, and that having status is more
important than being faithful to God and caring for God’s people.
* The trick question these
men ask is about taxes. Now, the Pharisees
and Herodians don’t mind paying
taxes because they are rich, and they want to keep the peace with Caesar.
* One reason the Pharisees are rich is that they
cheat poor people out of their money. In Palestine during Jesus’ time there are
two kinds of money—Roman and Jewish—and there is a rule that only Jewish money
can be used at the Temple. So when poor people go to worship at the Temple,
they bring with them the Roman money they earn at their jobs. In the Temple
courtyard, the Pharisees have booths
where people buy Jewish money with their Roman money. But the Pharisees overcharge. For example,
they might give back only one Jewish coin for two Roman coins.
* The Pharisees and Herodians
can hardly wait to ask Jesus their trick question. If he answers yes, then he will
lose popularity with the people, who hate paying taxes to Caesar. But if he answers no, he will make
Caesar angry and could end up in jail—or even worse.
Teacher, truthful, Caesar, malice, hypocrites, Roman, Caesar’s, what
belongs to Caesar, what belongs to God
Guide and activity sheet by Alice Pfeifer, CSA. Art by
Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ.
of the activity sheet [CLICK HERE], one copy for each student
(The Search is based on the New American
playing cards, an ace (to serve as 1) through 9
board (or poster board)
1. Before students arrive,
write on the chalk board the following words (found in bold type in Background):
Pharisees, Herodians, Herod, Caesar, hypocrites, malice, status.
2. Introduce Matthew 22:15-21
by explaining that the Gospel is about a trick question Jesus has to answer
about authority and what is owed to the emperor and what is owed to God.
3. Read Background (or
summarize it in your own words). To help students recognize words they will
read in the Gospel, have a student point to each word on the chalk board as you
4. Use the following
questions to help students understand the meanings of the words on the chalk
board: What does it mean for a person to have status? (He or she is important.) If people have malice in their hearts, what does that
mean? (They have hateful thoughts or intentions.) If I say some people are hypocrites, what does that mean? (They
are phonies. They pretend to be better than they are.) Who were the Herodians in Jesus day? Who were the Pharisees? Who was Herod? Who was Caesar?
5. Have a student read the
opening to the story about J.J. on the activity sheet. Then explain that the
Gospel about the trick question put to Jesus will help us understand a lesson
that J.J. learns. Read the Gospel while students follow along in their Bibles, or
have students take turns reading it.
6. Have students close their
Bibles and work individually or in pairs to answer the ten questions. Then read
the correct answers and let students see how many they got right.
7. Have a student read the
closing to the story about J.J.
8. Reinforce the details of
this Gospel with the following memory exercise: Spread face down on a table ten
playing cards ace (1) through 9, in random order. (The number on each card
corresponds to the same numbered question on the activity sheet.) Have students
take turns “drawing” a card and answering the corresponding question.