Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Give God His Due

"And He said to them, 'Whose likeness and inscription is this?' They said to Him, “Caesar’s.' Then He said to them, 'Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.' And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away."
Matthew 22:20:22

It if it weren't so said, it would be almost comical how the Pharisees failed at their attempts to trap Jesus. They plotted and schemed, and came up with what they thought were clever ways to trip up the Lord and discredit Him. But He saw through them every time, and revealed their hypocrisy and evil intents. When they approached Him and asked, "Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax (individual tax) to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:17), Jesus knew that if He said taxes should be paid, the Pharisees could accuse Him of denying God's sovereignty over Israel. And that would make Him an enemy of the Jews. On the other hand, if He said that taxes should not be paid, He would be perceived as an enemy of Rome. The Pharisees foolishly thought they had the Lord in a no-win situation, but they were sorely mistaken. Jesus asked them to show Him the coin used for the poll-tax -- a Roman coin. They did so, and then He gave them an answer that would reverberate throughout history: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's." We are responsible to God in all things, but He sets government in place and instructs us to be obedient to its laws. However, our worship belongs to God and God alone. Caesar set himself up as a god, to be worshiped. Jesus was simply saying to the Jews, "Pay the taxes Caesar demands, but keep your worship for God only." John MacArthur says of the Pharisees, "They were all concerned about what to give Caesar and were actually planning to kill the Son of God." Astounding.

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