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6. The Things that are Caesar’s, and Those that are God’s
(Matthew 22:15-22)
15Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.16And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.17Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”18But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?19Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius.20And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”21They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”22When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way. (Mark12:13-17, Luke20:20-26, John3:2, Romans13:1,7)

It was one of the grievous sufferings of Christ, that “He endured such hostility from sinners against Himself” (Hebrews 12:3). Those who sought to trick Him laid snares for Him. In these verses, we see Him attacked by the Pharisees and Herodians with a question about paying tribute to Caesar.
The Jews hated the Romans because they imposed a heavy tax on them and did not give them full freedom to practice their laws and rituals. They considered Caesar’s authority to be contradicting the authority of their Lord.
Christ’s enemies posed a cunning question that could put Christ in an unpleasant situation with either the Romans or the people. The soldiers of King Herod came with legal experts to arrest Jesus immediately if He said anything against the authority of those who ruled over them.
Christ’s predicament was this: If he agreed to the payment of tribute, the people would reject Him. If He said that God alone is to be worshipped without paying the tribute, the Roman soldiers would arrest Him.
The adversaries of Christ intended to “entangle Him in His talk.” They hoped that by posing a clever question they could get an advantage against Him. It is often the practice of Satan’s agents to consider a man an offender for a word misplaced, mistaken, or misunderstood – an innocent word perverted by tricky suspicions. Thus, “The wicked plots against the just” (Psalm 37:12-13).
There were two ways by which the enemies of Christ might have apprehended Him: by law or by force. To do it by law, they had to present Him to the civil government as a suspected lawbreaker, because “it was not lawful for them to put any man to death” (John 18:32). The Roman powers were not apt to concern themselves about questions of words, and names, and their law. To apprehend Him by force, they had to turn the people against Him. But because the people believed Christ was a prophet, His enemies could not raise the mob against Him.
Before they were aware of it, Jesus forced them to confess Caesar’s authority over them. In dealing with faultfinders, it is good to give our reasons before we give our answers. Thus, the evidence of truth may silence those who want to contradict it. Christ asked them to show him the tax money because He had none of His own. They brought Him a Roman denarius, stamped with the emperor’s image and superscription. The coining of money has always been looked upon as the prerogative of royalty or the sovereign power. The admitting of that as the right and lawful money of a country is an implicit submission to those powers.
Christ answered the hypocrites’ tempting question with words based on wisdom and the convincing power of truth. God’s truth triumphed over the plot of Satan, the father of all lies. By His answer, Christ reproved the malicious hypocrisy, and exposed the Pharisees’ deviousness. He paid the tribute for unrighteous mammon comes from and belongs to the state. If the state demands its right, we must not withhold it. Christ encourages us not to cling to money, worldly treasures, or dead materials, but pay what is due without reluctance.
Christ’s response affected the hypocrites to their very core. He stood mammon and power lovers in the presence of God saying, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Everything, even Caesar himself, is God’s. Our eyes, hands, mouths, and hearts are all God’s, they are not ours. Our money, time, and strength are all the Lord’s property. Our parents, neighbors, job, and leaders are all a gift from God. So we should turn everything back to its source. Repent and recognize that the motto of eternal life is not money and politics, but faith in God and His Son. You are God’s own, so when will you live according to this reality?
Submit your life entirely to the hands of your Savior, and do not forget to put your purse before His gracious throne. We are still living on earth not in heaven. Some countries occasionally seek believers’ submission in matters that belong only to God and not to man. In such conditions, we ought to obey God rather than man. An individual’s right or a states right is small when compared to God’s claim over His creatures. Obedience to God comes before our service to the state. We ought not to obey a creature in disobedience to the Creator. Let us serve the state faithfully in the things that are not contradictory to God’s holiness or to the gospel of His peace.
When we render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, we should remember also to render to God the things that are God’s. He has said, “My son, give me your heart.” He must have the innermost and the uppermost place there.

Heavenly Father, we belong to You. The difference between our worldly masters and You is like the difference between earth and heaven. Help us to serve our state and not to overdo the things of our world, but to live before You, entrusting You with our problems that Your name may be glorified by our wise conduct.
What is Caesar’s and what is God’s?