“He saw through their trickery and said, “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well then,” He said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.””
The Pharisees, time and time again tried to catch Jesus out, make Him look like a fool, or at best get Him arrested by the Romans for breaking their laws. In a similar situation, the Pharisees again approach Jesus to catch Him out however this time under the disguise of some spies pretending to be honest men.
The ‘honest men’ approach Jesus with flattering words that seemed contrary to their malicious intentions of trying to have Jesus arrested. They pose a question to Jesus to try to trick Him, “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?” If Jesus answered yes then the religious leaders could have stirred up a storm and put Jesus in the same bracket as the pious and greedy tax collectors. They could have accused Jesus of putting burdensome demands onto the Jewish people who already felt that taxation from the Romans was unfair and unjust. However, if Jesus answered no, then the religious leaders could have reported Jesus to the Roman governors for inciting rebellion among the Jews. Perhaps they could have even accused Jesus of being a religious zealot trying to set His people free from the Roman authority.
However, Jesus in His supreme wisdom answered, yet again, with such intelligence and authority. His answer, “to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. Amazing. In answering this way He silenced His critics, didn’t incite rebellion and actually taught both the people listening and today’s reader an important lesson.
We need to obey the law of the land and pay our taxes faithfully (for in doing so we honour God) and give to God what belongs to God (after all, everything we have is God’s anyway). Jesus’ wisdom yet again silenced the Pharisee’s shrewd tactics and yet again, Jesus set us an example of how we too should live our lives, purely, justly and righteously.