In Today's Scripture Reading:
Jesus and Zacchaeus; triumphal entry; cleansing the Temple; parable of wicked tenants; paying taxes; the resurrection; Jesus' authority
The Pharisees conspired against Jesus with the cooperation of the nonreligious political party called the Herodians, a group which urged Israel's submission to Rome (Matthew 22:16). These opposite-thinking groups of people hypocritically sent an investigative committee from the Sanhedrin, pretending to be interested in following Jesus. They said to Jesus: Master, we know that Thou sayest and . . . teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute (taxes) unto Caesar, or no? (Luke 20:21-22). Since the majority of Jews deeply resented paying taxes to the Roman government, this "committee" was sure the crowd would quickly turn against Jesus if He said "Yes." And the Pharisees could also say He was not the Messiah of Israel if He taught subjection to a Gentile government. But, if He said "No," the Herodian party could then accuse Him of conspiracy against the Roman government and Pilate could have Him arrested for treason.
But He perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye Me? Shew me a penny (a Roman coin that was an accepted currency among Jews). Whose image and superscription (inscription) hath it? They answered . . . Caesar's. And He said unto them, Render (Give) therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's. 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 (20:23-25). While the image upon a coin is representative of governmental authority, we must also submit to a higher authority because we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). This means that the words of Jesus are still just as true for us today.
Some misguided citizens accept the benefits of government but avoid paying taxes. They ignore the two reasons for paying them. Christians are to pay required taxes and obey the law, but they also pay them as a requirement to please God. We simply cannot ignore His clear command to: 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 Peter 2:13-14).
19:13 Occupy =b> Do business; 19:16 pound =b> a unit of money to illustrate opportunities and abilities; 19:21 austere =b> harsh, exacting; 20:20 feign =b> pretend to be sincere followers.
For Luke 19:38: See Psalm 118:26. Luke 19:46: See Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11. Luke 20:17: See Psalm 118:22. Luke 20:28: See Deuteronomy 25:5. Luke 20:37: See Exodus 3:6. Luke 20:42-43: See Psalm 110:1.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in honor of Bonnie Wilhite • Staff: Clarence Rathbone • Government Official: Sec. Dirk Kempthorne (Dept. of the Interior) • Country: Netherlands (15.8 million) in northwestern Europe • Major language: Dutch • Religious freedom • 35% Catholic; 28% Protestant; 3% Muslim; 1% Hindu; .9% Buddhist; .1% Jewish; 2% Other; 30% Unaffiliated • Prayer Suggestion: Revere and worship the Lord with godly fear and you will have no want (Psalm 34:9).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:9