Luke 20:19–26 (ESV)
Paying Taxes to Caesar
The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch
him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for
us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then
render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.
We are in the week before Jesus’ crucifixion and the scribes and chief priest are afraid of Jesus, but still trying to find a reason to arrest... or better yet... kill Jesus. Jesus is under surveillance, but the
problem is that Jesus is the Son of God and still in charge. They know that if they mess up, the people will turn on them. So they try to “set up” Jesus. “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality,
but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” Now if they truly believed what they said, then why are they plotting against Jesus? What they are trying to do is to get Jesus on tax evasion.
Our government today still practices this against the mafia and drug dealers. I know Texas has tax stamps for marijuana, much like for cigarettes, that if you are caught without the tax stamps... you are evading taxes. But Jesus knows their trap
and points out that we (Christians) are to pay our taxes, and to give money to God as well.
I pray: O Lord, help me to be a good citizen and to fulfill my responsibilities to my country, but even more
so... help me to be a good disciple to you and to fulfill my responsibilities with joy and love to you. Amen.