Render to Caesar

The pop machine at work gave me a new nickel last week. Wow! When did these become available? I like the new nickel. In keeping with the recent changes to our paper currency, the Jefferson’s image is much larger (and we get to see his right side).

This last week at church, we were studying parts of Mark 11 and 12. One of the stories is headed in my Bible, “The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?

13Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?”

But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16So they brought it.

And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

17And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Source: Mark 12:13-17 (New King James Version))

I, like the headline author of my Bible, have tended to focus on the first part of Jesus’ saying: “Render to Caesar.” It’s not a bad lesson. How many Christians spend time concerned about paying their taxes because of how they are used? Jesus, in his typical apolitical stance, doesn’t address the issue. Just pay them. Move on to more important issues.

I suspect Jesus was much more concerned about the second part of His statement: “and to God the things that are God’s.” It’s quite simple. The denarius was Caesar’s because it had Caesar’s image. We are God’s because we are created in His image.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Source: Genesis 1:27 (New International Version))

Don’t worry about how your government is using your taxes; consider how you are using your life.

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