Wisdom of Jesus Christ – paying tax

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Matthew 22 – Paying tax
(The Pharisees send some of their disciples, posing as upright man, to ensnare Jesus by asking Him a loaded question about taxation.  They hope to implicate Him in a political dispute concerning Israel’s relationship to the ruling authorities in Rome.)

15Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians.
Jesus, denarius coin - question about paying tax
"Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

(Pause here for a while… How you are going to answer this tricky question if you were Jesus …?)
(Hey, a roman soldier is here. He may arrest you if you say anything not right to the Rome empire .. hmm..)
roman soldier

18But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19Show me the coin used for paying the tax."
They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"
21"Caesar's," they replied. 
    Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
22When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
(His questioners marvel that Jesus has thus neatly evaded their trap.)

If you are a pre-believer and feel that Jesus Christ is just a crazy carpenter who talked about imaginary things such as God and Heaven.  Think again about Jesus' wisdom.  See how Jesus quickly dealt with those tough and tricky question :) I will try to share with you more about the wisdom of Jesus in future. :)
For those who see Jesus as a radical revolutionary, this has to be a disappointing passage.  But for those who see Jesus as someone whose message goes beyond politics, this is an important living parable.  In another instance Jesus told Peter to pay the temple tax by taking the money out of the fish's mouth.  Before this he noted that the owner should not have to pay taxes.  Here Jesus, who was king of kings, submitted to earthly authority.  In the end, Jesus paid taxes to a government that would kill him.  It is an example to us all- not only of paying taxes to government, but also of self-control, and of a proper attitude toward government.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your example of self-control and grace.

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