Because it’s an election year, there’s a lot of talk about taxes. One politician says there will be no more taxes, but doesn’t clarify if he’ll increase the present ones. Another candidate for the Presidency talks about a Fair Tax (although personally I think that is an oxymoron). As the scramble for voters continues, the promises about decreasing taxes increases, probably in direct proportion to how soon a nomination can be made.
Bible Verse of the DayMatthew 22:21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
In Christ’s time, taxes were paid to foreign invaders who were loathed by the Jewish people. It’s bad enough giving your money to the government, but it must be a hundred times worse giving it to a foreign government. That’s like saying to the invaders, “Thank you for destroying our country. Here’s some money to make you even stronger.”
Because the Jews hated paying taxes to Caesar, some miscreants used this as a means to trap Jesus. He was becoming too popular, so His opponents tried to set Him up. They asked Him whether or not it was lawful to pay taxes. If Christ plainly agreed to pay the taxes, He would be portrayed as a collaborator. If He disagreed with paying taxes, then He would be denounced as a dangerous usurper.
Jesus was in between a rock and a hard place, but He dealt with the situation beautifully. If the image on the coin was of Caesar, then obviously it belonged to Rome. And since it was an image, devout Jews would have nothing to do with holding on to graven images. Or as Jesus put it so succinctly: Give to Caesar what is his, and give to God what is God’s.
Sometimes as Christians we are faced with similar dilemmas. We try to be faithful to Christ without being mean or confrontational in the world, but sometimes the world does things that confronts or demeans our faith. It’s a hard path to walk, but Christ understands. It’s a road that he traveled many times in His own life.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we really want to be effective Christians in and to the world. Sometimes we fail because we allow our pride and anger to usurp our faith and destroy our good intentions. Grant us strength and determination to be all that You wish to become as servants in God’s Kingdom, and as witnesses in the world. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.