Read Luke 19 - 20
In Today's 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 a 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 You say and . . . teach the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute (taxes) to Caesar, or not? (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 to them, Why tempt Me? Show me a penny (a Roman coin that was an accepted currency among Jews). Whose image and superscription (inscription) has it? They answered . . . Caesar's. And He said to them, Render (Give) therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar's. The rest of His comment came as a stinging rebuke to their hypocrisy when He added: And to God the things which are 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 as true for us today as they were when He spoke them.
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 to governors, as to them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers (I Peter 2:13-14).
19:13 Occupy = Do business; 19:16 pound = a unit of money; 19:21 austere = stern, harsh, exacting; 20:20 feign = pretend.
For Luke 19:38: See Psa 118:26. Luke 19:46: See Isa. 56:7; Jer. 7:11. Luke 20:17: See Psa. 118:22. Luke 20:28: See Deut. 25:5. Luke 20:37: See Ex. 3:6. Luke 20:42-43: See Psa. 110:1.
Pray for BP Staff: Clarence Rathbone · Government Official: Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (ID) · Country: Vietnam (77 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Vietnamese and French · Very strict control of Christians in the North; the South has been more lenient but is getting tighter · 65% Buddhist and Buddhist sects; 7% Roman Catholic; 4% belief in evil spirits and ancestor worship; .4% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and praise God for His faithfulness and mercy in keeping all His promises (II Chronicles 6:14-15).
Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 6:9