The plain duplicity of Jesus’ opponents is most clearly seen in chapter twenty. They are the religious leaders of the people, and yet they object to Jesus teaching the very law they claim to keep. They are out to murder Jesus, despite the fact that the law condemns murder (they make themselves and their actions “exceptions” to the law). They have no interest in truth, only in spinning the reputations of their opponents in an unfavorable light.
And so, they ask Jesus whether it is proper to pay taxes to Caesar, and proffer hypotheticals to discredit Jesus with the crowds.
There is a lot of the same sort of thing in our own time and though we find it most obvious in the political arena, it’s not confined to politics. When people ask prejudicial questions of their opponents, knowing they have nothing to do with the issues at hand but only serve to win the support of shallow multitudes, you know the questioners are, themselves, rotten. When those questioned never give an answer, but spin the issue to their talking points, you know they are rotten too. Jesus’ words remain condemning: “Such men will be punished most severely.”