Unlimited: Should Christian Pay Taxes?
Mar 2, 2021 1713
Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words.They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, 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 the imperial tax to Caesar or not?Should 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.”They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Jesus: Pay Your Taxes
Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
And they were amazed at him (Mark 12:13–17, NIV).
During the years of his ministry, Jesus largely avoided Judaea, and it’s capital Jerusalem in particular. It’s here where his enemies were: the ones who are out to kill him
In his final week, right there in Jerusalem, he was walking on dangerous ground.
Jesus was surrounded by those who hate him, and by the traps that they set. Here was one of those traps.
The Sadducees had their turn, and now the Pharisees and the Herodians tried to entrap Jesus. They came up with an ingenious trap.
Is it Really Right For Christians to Pay Taxes?
And so, they asked him: “Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar?”
Jesus asked for a denarius to be brought to him. He wasn’t used to carrying money, and he didn’t have any with him.
When he got it, he held it up and showed them Caesar’s image, asking them, “Whose inscription and image is this?”
When they answered, “Caesar’s,” he delivered the famous line,
Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
Jesus was acknowledging what is owed to Caesar, while severely limiting it at the same time. As Jesus held the coin in his hand and he said to “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” Jesus was implicitly contrasting this with what is owed to God.
The coin that Jesus held was the hated coin of the cruel oppressor, and Jesus says, “Give it back to him.”
What Jesus said begs the question, “What is it that we owe to God?” No one can hold that in their hand! What you owe to God is without limit.
– Eliezer Gonzalez
Eli’s Reflection: What can you offer to God as your spiritual act of worship?