Mark 12:13-17 NIV
Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar
13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.
What was so dangerous about this trap?
The Pharisees tried to butter You up to not alert You of their devious plans, but You saw right through it. It is still amazing that people in this world are still using these same antics. They say they care and their words attempt to make us trust them, while their intentions are evil. The intention of the Pharisees was to trip You up so they could either accuse you before the Jewish people as being a traitor or accuse You before the Roman authorities of treason. Either way, they could carry out their evil schemes. Your reply is a word for us today. You show us that duty to God and duty to civil authorities are not in opposition. They are not mutually exclusive. God and politics are not an either-or, it is a both-and. You have established laws and guidelines for their enforcement. You also call Your people to value justice and to be subject to authority. Lord, I pray for our country as people try to dishonor and criminalize authority. I pray for police officers who regularly are placed in dangerous situations to keep the peace, to bring aid, and for our safety. As Christians, help us to view police officers as Your servants who are enforcing justice on our behalf. Without this important aspect of our society, laws would be essentially meaningless as there would be no way to uphold them. We are called to submit to the authority of the government, but we are also called to submit to Your laws. You are calling Christians to participate in governments, to speak up for You and others, and to serve with Your love to uphold Your principles. Help me to follow Your Word as my primary compass. Help me to boldly speak, act and serve consistently with Your Word. Allow me to demonstrate Your love by honoring good and supporting authority. Show me where I can participate in the schools, cities, counties and wherever You send me so that I can live out my Christian values in my community. I owe a debt for services and benefits that I receive and the laws that are consistent with Your Word. If I do not actively serve, let me support those who do. Let me give to civil authorities that which is due to them and give to God all that I owe Him. Amen