Daily Dose, Aug. 4

 

Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, “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.”

His reply amazed them, and they went away. (Matthew 22:15)

 

Jesus escapes from a trap with one of his most famous one-liners: “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” We shouldn’t read this as though Jesus is making a clear demarcation between the political sphere which belongs to the Caesars of the world and a spiritual world that belongs to God. Nor is this a simple reminder for Christians to pay their taxes and pay their tithes.

Jesus is making a much more profound statement in this text. The image of the emperor on a coin was, of course, propaganda and served to remind people that the emperor was in sole charge of the state of the treasury. Jesus, however, knew that there is another image, not printed on gold and silver, but printed on the soul of every human being — the image of God. Caesar may want your wallet, Jesus seems to be saying, “but God wants nothing less than your whole life.” — Wes Maston, Director of Discipleship