Summary: Render to Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God that which is God's.
• Possessions: That which we seek to owns ultimately will own us.
• Ill. John Wesley's attitude is worthy of pondering. When he learned that his house had been destroyed by fire, he exclaimed, "The Lord's house burned. One less responsibility for me!"
• Martin Luther said, “I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess.”
• The religious leaders were not happy when Jesus disrupted their daily activity of the Temple.
• On one day, he overturned the money tables and chased out the animal vendors that had corrupted Jewish worship.
• The next day, He showed up early and affected the setup during the busy season approaching Passover.
• They had challenged Him about whose authority He did these things in.
• That didn’t turn out well for the Pharisees and temple officials.
• Then Jesus told a parable which foretold that the light of God’s blessings would pass from the Jews to the Gentiles.
• That wasn’t something that pleased them, so they pulled back to regroup.
• After they discussed it, they obviously created an new alliance with the Herodians.
• These were those who were loyal to Herod, and thus Caesar.
• They benefited from the system as it was set up, and were directly opposed by the Jews who wanted independence from Rome.
• They typical Jew resented Roman rule and despised Herod, who they considered a trader for supporting Rome.
Mar 12:13-14 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 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?”
• Obviously, they tried to set Jesus up by beginning with attempted flattery.
• I’m sure one of them had suggested, “If we are going to trap this Jesus, we must begin with another approach.
• ‘Let’s begin by claiming to believe His claims.”
• So they started, “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.”
• First, realize they knew no such thing. They didn’t believe it for a minute.
• Next, their flattery was intended to reveal or expose a very weakness they had hoped for.
• They hoped that Jesus did not fear the government enough to boldly speak against it.
• What they didn’t take into consideration was that neither did they fear the opinion of His very followers, which they had hoped would push Him into a trap.
• Then they asked the question that was supposed to make Jesus take and dangerous position.
• The Jewish leaders resented paying taxes that went to Rome, as did the common people.
• I am certain they had suspected that Jesus would take the typical Jewish position, and therefore be arrested as a subversive and protestor against Rome.
• If He didn’t, they suspected He ran the risk of losing his popularity with the people, as well as their support.
Mar 12:15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it."
• Through His dependence on the Father, through the Spirit, Jesus saw right through the plan.
• He saw their approach and flattery as hypocrisy. They came as if seeking answers for a life problem, but proposed to trap Jesus in His own words.
• He called them on it. “Why put me to the test?”
• Then He asks for a coin, a Roman coin used to pay taxes with.
• The denarius was typically considered a day’s wage.
Mar 12:16 And they brought one. And he said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesar's."
• On our currency, we put ex-presidents and historical figures.
• The rulers of those days put their images and names on their minted currency.
• They brought Jesus the coin and He holds it up to them.
• As they look at it, He asks, “Whose picture and name are inscripted on this coin?
• They answered Him,” Caesar”.
Mar 12:17 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.
• Jesus answered their question: “Give to Caesar and his government what is due him and to God that which is due Him.”