It was great to hear from Jeremiah Ward yesterday at WCC as he shared his first sermon. We will dig deeper into the text he preached on this week:
And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar's.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” And they marveled at him. (Mark 12:13-17 ESV)
They picked a whopper of a topic to corner Jesus with…taxes. Now, you and I may not like April 15th much (even though it’s my birthday) but I assure you that the jewish nation liked it even less. The tax man was notoriously corrupt and also a constant reminder that the jews were governed by another nation (The Romans). If Jesus would answer that they didn’t have to pay taxes then these leaders could have Him arrested by Rome. If Jesus were to answer that they must pay taxes then these folks figured that the crowd that had followed Him would get mad and leave His side. It seemed He couldn’t win but never count God out even when the circumstances seem bleak.
Jesus reminded all who listened that authority is authority. If we live in Rome and they have a tax requirement then duh. With the same type of obviousness, He reminded the people that authority was also something that led their spiritual life also. Give to God what is God’s. Wow.
We will dig into this deeper as the week goes on…but for now, here is a question for you. Have you studied the scriptures to see what God says about following His Authority and even the authority of others around us?
Now, for fun, enjoy a classic song about taxes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8OgkjcW0g4