Render to Caesar .. and to God

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Often questions tell us quite a bit about the one who is asking them. Such is the case in this passage. The question is preceded by patronization - they really did not believe what they were saying about Jesus. And their question was not aimed at the answer but the supposed lack of one. But Jesus would not play their game and called out their malicious hypocrisy. And his answer? Oh my! Small wonder that they marveled at it.

I think that there will always be a real mistrust of the government. Whether it be a harsh dictatorship, as in Jesus' day or a representative democracy, there are people who simply do not want to support governmental activities by paying taxes. Even so Jesus did not give his listeners, or us, and excuse for tax evasion. By saying "render to Caesar" he validated lawful taxation. By telling them to 'render to God' he put the paying of taxes in perspective.

I ask you to help the leaders in our governments Lord. Give them grace to acknowledge you in their lives. Give them wisdom to understand how to lead cities, states and nations.

1 comment:

  1. Since the image on Caesar's coin was that of a man they worshipped as a God, Jesus was also saying, "You go ahead and give Caesar his coin, but he's not God."

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