Summary: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." We have to completely give ourselves to God because we belong to him. I would be delighted if you could rate this sermon and give a brief feedback.
INTRODUCTION (SECURE ATTENTION) & BACKGROUND OF THE PASSAGE:
PRAY before starting the sermon.
Over the centuries, Christians have struggled with the issue of the church and the state.
At one point in time, the Roman Catholics took over the state.
The Church controlled the State and the results were disastrous.
At other times, the State tried controlling the Church.
Even that is unfair as Christians are subjected to persecution.
As Christians, it’s not easy to live in a world where people around you don’t appreciate your faith.
In our country, our government is in many ways, anti-Christian.
How do we respond when we are in such a scenario?
Well, Jesus answers that question in today’s passage.
Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to MARK 12:13-17 (READ)?
I have entitled today’s sermon as: “GIVE YOURSELF TO GOD!”
In 11:27-12:44 (refer), we read about the opposition Jesus encountered from the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes.
In 12:13-17 (refer), the Pharisees along with the Herodians test him about taxation; in 12:18-27 (refer), the Sadducees test him about the resurrection; and in 12:28-44 (refer), the scribes test him on interpretation of Scripture.
So, we see that Jesus’ authority was challenged by the religious leaders constantly.
They kept testing him.
CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE TEXT: In this passage, Jesus teaches that we must fulfill our obligations towards Caesar, but more importantly towards God.
FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS: Already included.
THE PURPOSE BRIDGE: To encourage the members of EAGC to fulfill their obligations towards earthly rulers, and more importantly towards God.
CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE SERMON: I have used inductive proposition for this sermon.
I. THE PHARISEES AND THE HERODIANS’ ATTEMPT TO TRAP JESUS.
Refer verses 13-14.
A. Some of the Pharisees and the Herodians are sent to trap Jesus.
Read verse 13.
‘They’ can refer to the members of the Sanhedrin (refer 11:27).
Few representatives from both the Pharisees and the Herodians were sent to Jesus.
The Pharisees were separatists.
They were very meticulous in following the Law.
But they were legalistic and ended up putting unnecessary burden on the people.
We do not have much information about Herodians.
They seem to be connected to the Herodian family and thus supported the Romans.
Even in 3:1-6 (refer), the Pharisees watched Jesus closely so that they can accuse him.
Generally, both the Pharisees and the Herodians opposed each other since they had different ideologies.
But here, we find the opposing groups coming together to oppose Jesus, just as they came together in 3:6 (refer) to “destroy him.”
Even today, we keep seeing unlikely alliances among political parties.
Sometimes, they come together to defeat a common enemy.
That’s what happened in the recent by-polls in UP.
SP and BSP formed an alliance to defeat BJP.
Here, we see that the Pharisees and the Herodians formed an unholy alliance to somehow destroy Jesus.
It’s like the Left and BJP or the Congress and TDP joining hands together.
Since they were afraid to destroy Jesus because of his popularity among the masses (refer v. 12), they sought to “trap him in his talk.”
The word “trap” is from the Greek word agreuein, which implies violent pursuit.
B. They try to flatter Jesus.
Read verse 14.
Their intention was to trap Jesus, but they attempt to do this by flattering him.
Beware of people who flatter you.
Don’t take them too seriously.
Some flatter so that they can put down others.
The Pharisees and the Herodians say that they knew that he is true.
But when it came to John’s baptism, they plainly said, “we do not know” (refer 11:33).
If they really knew he is true, they would follow him, not trap him.
Since they witnessed that Jesus doesn’t bend to the corrupt religious leaders, they flatter him by saying that he didn’t care about anyone’s opinions.
They further say that Jesus is not swayed by mere appearances.
Rather, he truly teaches the way of God.
The Pharisees and the Herodians thought that by flattering Jesus, they can disarm him.
C. They ask whether it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not.
Read verse 14.
The Pharisees and the Herodians ask a brilliant and a tough question.
Since 6 AD, the Romans started ruling Israel directly and the Jews were made to pay taxes to them.
Some people who wanted to live quiet lives grudgingly paid taxes to the Romans.
However, a section of the Jews under the leadership of Judas of Galilee revolted against the Romans.
There was a lot of animosity among the Jews towards the Romans and their imposition of taxes.
Most of the Jews hated the Romans and hated to pay the taxes.
The Jews had to pay 3 kinds of taxes:
David Guzik says, “Three taxes were imposed by the Romans on Judea. The first was the ground tax, which was 10% of all grain [DHAANYAM] and 20% of all wine and fruit [PANDLAPAI]. The second was the income tax, which amounted to 1% of a man’s income. The third was the poll tax, paid by men aged 12 to 65 and women 14 to 65. This was one denarius a year, about a day’s wage for a laborer.”