Highlights In Today's Reading:
The real reason why Jesus came (19:10). Individual Christian ministry (19:13). Jesus answers questions concerning the resurrection (20:27-40).
The Pharisees were always present in the crowds that surrounded Jesus. The Sanhedrin would send investigative committees to question His "Messianic Movement" while pretending to be interested followers. On this occasion, the Pharisees conspired with the Herodians (Matt. 22:16) who were nonreligious Jews that urged submission to Rome. Together they deceitfully asked Jesus: Master, we know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest Thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? (Luke 20:21-22).
Since the majority of Jews deeply resented paying taxes to Rome, this "committee" was sure the crowds would turn against Jesus if He said: "Yes." But if He said: "No," the Herodian party would then accuse Him of rebellion against the Roman government, and Pilate could arrest Him for treason. If He refused to answer, then everyone would be suspicious of Him. The Pharisees thought they had Him trapped.
Jesus perceived their craftiness (evil plan), and said unto them. . . . Shew Me a penny (20:23). Jesus asked: Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's. And He said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things that be Caesar's (20:24-25). But the rest of His comment came as a stinging rebuke to their hypocrisy when He added: And unto God the things which be God's (20:25). The words of Jesus are still true.
Christians are to pay taxes, not just to please the government but as a requirement to please God. Peter, guided by the Holy Spirit, also warned: Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers (I Pet. 2: 13-14; Titus 3:1). Consequently, as a matter of conscience, we must declare our income honestly and take only legitimate deductions. We pay what the government requires, obeying its laws, and praying for kings, and for all that are in authority (I Tim. 2:1-2). For this cause (reason) pay ye tribute (taxes). . . . Render (pay) therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due (Rom. 13:6-7; I Pet. 2:13-14). (Note: An exception to the rule is if it requires us to disobey the Law of God — Daniel chapters 3 & 6; Acts 5:29.)
Thought for Today:
The Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel (Joel 3:16).
19:13 Occupy =use your talent to buy and sell; 19:16 pound = unit of money to illustrate opportunities to increase; 19:21 austere =stern, exacting; 20:20 feign themselves just men =pretend to be sincere followers.
For Luke 19:38: See Ps. 118:26. Luke 19:46: See Is. 56:7; Jer. 7:11. Luke 20:17: See Ps. 118:22. Luke 20:28: See Deut. 25:5. Luke 20:37: See Ex. 3:6. Luke 20:42-43: See Ps. 110:1.
Pray for Staff: Clarence Rathbone • Government Official: Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH) • Country: Iraq (22 million) in southern Asia • Major languages: Arabic and Kurdish • Fierce harassment of non-Muslims • 96% Muslim; 3% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that your decisions will always be to please the Lord (Ps. 73:24).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:20