19The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people. 20Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 23He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24“Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?” 25“Caesar’s,” they replied. He said to them, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” 26They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.
- Jesus explained here that the demands of the state and the demands of God are not the same. He suggests it is possible to meet both at the same time, but he never suggests that obeying one is exactly the same as obeying the other. In fact, very soon, obedience to God would mean disobedience to the Roman emperor. The early church has defied the Jewish authorities, “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29).
- On the demand of the state of personal income tax, and the demand of tithing and offering for God’s church, how obedient are you?
- In giving yourself to God, areyou in the 15%, 30%, 50% or 100% “tax bracket”?
Suggestion for Family Devotional Time: Jesus was constantly being challenged by the teachers of the law and the chief priests. Their question on paying taxes to Caesar was another attempt to trap Jesus so they could discredit him in front of the people. Discuss as a family the meaning of Jesus’ answer. How do people make fun of you? What can be done about it in the spirit of Jesus?
Prayer & Journaling: On your prayer journal, as you listen to God, write down a few thoughts, questions, words, names, drawings, or anything that has come to your mind during this time.
Proverbs for Today 8:25-26
25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, 26 before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.