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Bible Pathways 10/29/2002

October 29

Read Luke 19 -- 20

In Today’s Reading:

Jesus and Zacchaeus; triumphal entry; cleansing of the Temple; parable of the wicked tenants; paying taxes to Caesar; questions concerning the resurrection; Jesus' authority.

The investigative committee from the Sanhedrin pretended to be interested in following Jesus. On one occasion, 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 said to Jesus: Master, we know that [You say] and [teach what is right, and show no partiality to anyone], but [teach] the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute [to] Caesar, or [not]? (Luke 20:21-22).

Since the majority of Jews deeply resented paying taxes to the Gentile Roman government, this "committee" was sure the crowds 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 would then accuse Him of conspiracy against the Roman government and Pilate would have Him arrested for treason.

Jesus may have appeared to them to be in a real dilemma, but He perceived their craftiness (deceitful scheming), and said [to] them . . . Show Me a penny (denarius) -- a Roman coin that was an accepted currency among the Jews. Then Jesus asked: Whose image and superscription [does it have]? They answered . . . Caesar's. . . . He said [to] them, Render therefore [to] Caesar the things [that are] Caesar's. But the rest of His comment came as a stinging rebuke to their hypocrisy when He added: And [to] God the things [that are] God's (20:23-25). While the image upon a coin is representative of governmental authority, man must also submit to a higher authority because he is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). The words of Jesus are still just as true for us today. As the people of God faithfully render to Him their tithes, the Word of God will be more effectively proclaimed throughout the world.

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). When the New Testament was written, the Roman government was exceedingly corrupt; but, not one of the writers was led by the Holy Spirit to denounce the Roman government or to suggest withholding their tax obligation. As Christians, we may deplore how the government uses our tax money, but this does not exempt us from paying what the government requires, obeying its laws, and sincerely praying for kings, and for all that are in authority (I Timothy 2:1-2). For this cause (reason) ye pay tribute (taxes). . . . Render (pay) therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute (taxes) is due (Romans 13:6-7; see I Peter 2:13-14).

Thought for Today: Our greatest satisfaction comes as we live in obedience to His Word.

Word Studies:

19:13 occupy = to do business; 19:16 pound = a unit of money; 19:21 austere = stern, harsh, exacting; 20:20 feign = pretend.

Cross References:

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.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (ID) · Pray for your pastor · Country: Brazil (171 million) in South America · Major languages: Portuguese and Spanish · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 7% Protestant; 4% various forms of spiritism · Prayer Suggestion: Go to God in prayer with a heart and life that are keeping His Commandments and He will answer you (I John 4:7-8).

Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 2:16

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