“SHOW ME THE MONEY!”
Lord, give me wisdom as I live a Christ-like life in a world that doesn’t fear God.
Read Matthew 22:15–22
Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat laws or government standards conflict with your Christian beliefs?
Three things that might help us to hear this story well: (1) Ordinary coins had Caesar’s image on them; (2) the Ten Commandments said: “No images” (also, no gods, and arguably the image of Caesar was understood as an image of a god); (3) God’s image, according to Genesis 1, was humankind, not a picture on a piece of gold.
Here come the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus. Is he for or against paying taxes to the Roman Empire? If for, then he is letting Rome win, and is using Roman money to do it. If against, then he is a political troublemaker. Of course, if the Pharisees really think one should not carry a Roman coin with Caesar’s image, then they won’t have one on them.
“Show me the money!” demands Jesus (19). A coin is produced immediately. Jesus concludes: if you are willing to carry this thing, with its picture of Caesar, then you might as well pay tax with it. But let me tell you about another image, the image of God. Now what does that look like?
Christian faith demands that we handle money wisely without letting it play “god” in our lives. As you go through this day, consider how you use your money and what that says about your Christian life.
God, show me how You want me to spend the money You have given to me today.