To Pay or not To Pay?
Heavenly Father, I owe You so very much. I just want to offer You my sincere thanks and praise now.
Read Mark 12:13-17
 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words.  They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?  Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”  They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.  Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
ReflectWhat was the purpose of this question posed to Jesus?
“Nothing is certain but death and taxes,” goes the old saying. The only people who like taxes seem to be those who receive them. Now taxation is the focus of the next challenge to Jesus. The pressure on him is mounting. As often happens, even today, strange bedfellows join together in opposition. Unlike the Pharisees, the Herodians supported the Romans but here both groups tried to trap Jesus in his words (14). If Jesus answered “yes,” the patriotic Jews would desert him. If he answered “no,” there would be a charge to take to the Romans. But the trick question didn’t work; Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and flattery (14,15). The small coin which Jesus asked for (why didn’t he have his own?) had Caesar’s head on it, together with an inscription (15,16). Those markings asserted Caesar’s authority. Jesus’ wise answer (17) was a challenge to everyone. If they wanted the benefits of the state they should pay their taxes. But that was not enough. More important was their obedience to God, a failing exposed in the earlier parable (12:1-10). The challenge of this passage is directed to us as much as it was to them.
Have you been giving anything to others that belongs to God? How might Jesus’ words challenge you today?
Lord Jesus, it isn’t always easy to keep my allegiances in the right order, so I pray that You’ll help me.