Paying Taxes to Caesar

Paying Taxes to Caesar...
What belongs to Caesar?
What belongs to God?





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Paying Taxes to Caesar
Mark 12:13-17

13Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15Should we pay or shouldn't we?"

But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." 16They brought the coin (a denarius), and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"
"Caesar's," they replied.

17Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."
And they were amazed at him.



Paying Taxes to Caesar
Matthew 22:15-22

15Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

18But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"

21"Caesar's," they replied.
Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." 22When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.





The Pharisees and Herodians two antagonistic rivals came together in a common purpose to “trap” Jesus Christ. “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15Should we pay or shouldn't we?" If Jesus had answered “no” he could have been charged with conspiracy against Rome. If Jesus had answered “yes” Jesus would have been condoning tribute taxes, which were imposed by a conquering power – Rome, and this would have lost Jesus the support of the crowds of people, which followed Jesus.

Jesus recognized the Pharisees hypocrisy; "Why are you trying to trap me?" The trap that the Pharisees and Herodians had planned backfired on them; the Pharisees and Herodians got caught in their own trap!

"Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." They brought the coin (a denarius). At this point the Pharisees have lost. The Jews were well acquainted with the Ten Commandments, the Law of Moses. Second Commandment of the Law of Moses: You shall not make any idols or graven images.

”You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
Exodus 20:4

The Roman coinage could NOT be used to pay the Temple tax. The Jews had a prohibition against using a Roman coin, a symbol of Rome’s tyranny over them, a coin with a graven image, and a coin with the inscription that Caesar was the son of god; not Yahweh the Jewish God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

When the Pharisee reached into their pockets and pulled out the Roman denarius coin they were discredited and humiliated as being hypocrites for being collaborators with the Roman imperial authorities. (Seven Woes: Matthew 23)

Again when the Pharisee reached into their pockets and pulled out the Roman coin it was like at a Baptist convention against “Smoking: The Dangers of Smoking” and Jesus is there and asks, “What is the Surgeon General’s warning on a pack of cigarettes and the leaders of the convention, they all reach inside their pockets and pull out a pack of cigarettes! This would show their hypocrisy and their collaboration with the (Roman authorities) cigarette companies.

The Roman coins were so taboo that the moneychangers in the Temple were there to exchange the Roman coins for Hebrew coinage.
Moneychangers:
Mark 11:15–19
Matthew 21:12-17
Luke 19:45-48
John 2:12-25

Then Jesus asks, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied.

17Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."

If Jesus had simply wanted to say pay taxes to Caesar all he had to do is say, “Yes.” But Jesus did not. Jesus’ answer was masterful and similar to his answer in the Woman Caught in Adultery John 8:1-11 where the teachers of the law and the Pharisees tried in vain to trap Jesus.

Jesus said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."

This begs the question:
1. What belongs to God? and
2. What belongs to Caesar?

What belongs to God?
EVERYTHING!

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;

Psalm 24:1

" 'The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.”
Leviticus 25:23



Each day of the week had its special Psalm with a rabbinic reason to explain its attachment.

Psalm 24 was the Psalm for the first day of the week. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” — this commemorated the first day of creation, “ when God possessed the world and ruled in it.”
Introducing the Bible by William Barclay




What belongs to Caesar?
Nothing!

And they were amazed at him. The Pharisees were completely humiliated and discredited much to the joy of the crowds of people who were observing this debate! Remember the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus so they could put him to death but the Pharisees feared the crowds, the support of the people.

Jesus winning this debate was like winning the Super Bowl, the World Series, the World Cup, and winning 8 gold medals at the Olympics all at one time! The crowds were overjoyed but in only hardened the hearts of the Pharisees that this Jesus must die.



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