Summary: Render to Caesar ...
Luke 20:20-26 Paying Taxes to Caesar
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.
Romans 13 Submission to the Authorities
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Luke 20:20-26 The Story of Jesus and the Denaraii
Story: A man was walking down the road on holiday in Spain.
Suddenly a woman rushed out of the house screaming that her child has swallowed a coin.
The man rushed into the house, turned the child upside down and the coin drops out
The delighted mother turned to the stranger and asked: Are you a doctor.
The man replied “No, I work for the Inland Revenue.”
Paying taxes has never been popular and neither have those who collect them been.
And in today’s Gospel reading, the question asked reflected how unpopular taxation was.
Jesus was in a Catch 22 position in our Gospel reading this morning.
If on the one hand he said: Don’t pay your taxes to Caesar, the Jewish officials would have brought him to the Roman Governor for sedition.
If on the other hand he said Pay your taxes to Caesar, he would lose his popular support, because the Romans were the occupying force and hated by the general population.
It was a case of heads I win, tails you lose. However with his answer, Jesus made the coin balance on its side.
It was an answer of pure genius.
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Luke 20:25.)
The Pharisees were “hoisted by their own petard.”
Story: Do you know where the expression comes from:
The "petard" was actually a crude kind of bomb that was used in the olden days by invading armies.
Soldiers used to place these bell shaped bombs near the walls/gates and then light the slow burning fuse that was attached to them.
Sometimes, however, the fuse burnt much more quickly than expected, and in the process blew up not only the wall/gate, but also the man who was lighting the bomb.
The soldier was lifted off or hoisted off his feet by the exploding bomb. (http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/edu/2002/04/23/stories/2002042300030101.htm).
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” was not just a smart answer. It touches on two important truths:
1. As Christians we are to give the State its due
2. And we are to give God his due.
1. My first point is that we have to give the State its due
Christians are called to be good citizens – in so far as the laws of the State don’t contravene the laws of God.
Paul develops this in his most famous book – the book of Romans 13;1-7
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.