Should the Jews pay taxes to Caesar?

The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 9 - Jesus' last week in Jerusalem - Part 6

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An online Bible Study course by Barrie Wetherill about the life of Jesus. This book is in EasyEnglish Level B. Use the links below for other online Bible Study books and commentaries that will help you. Or go to the Word List, which explains words with a *star.

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Matthew 22:15-22

The Jewish rulers did not like the parables [stories] that Jesus told in Matthew chapters 21-22. They decided that they must stop Jesus now. The *Pharisees believed the Law. It is strange that they joined up with the Herodians. The Herodians were a political group. They did not believe God's Law at all.

So, the *Pharisees and the Herodians came to Jesus with a question:

·  Was it right to give taxes to Caesar?

If Jesus said ‘Yes’, he would disappoint many Jews. If he said ‘No’, the Romans could arrest him.

In reply, Jesus asked for a coin. He asked the people to describe the head on it. The head was Caesar’s. He then said:

Matthew 22:21 Give to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar. Give to God the things that belong to God.

There is great wisdom in this short answer. Rulers should do what God wants. We should obey our rulers if their laws are not evil. Paul later writes more about this in Romans 13:1-7. Other *New Testament writers also mention this subject. Men should pay the king what he deserves. But Jesus also said ‘Give to God the things that belong to God’. Jesus said that God is the greatest ruler. We must not keep back anything that belongs to him. Rulers on earth can demand much. But this means that there is a limit to their demands.

Jesus' reply has another meaning also. On the other side of the coin, there were words. They said that Caesar was a god. Clearly, Jesus was denying this.

The wisdom of this quick answer was surprising. Jesus’ enemies went away. They could not answer what he said.


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