People sometimes resent paying taxes; and many Jewish people at the time of this story resented paying their taxes because they went to the Roman government. But there was something the religious leaders resented even more: they resented the teachings and the popularity of a man called Jesus of Nazareth.
"Keeping a close watch on Him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something He said. The spies questioned Him: "Teacher, we know that You speak and teach what is right, and that You do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 1*.
These spies said nice things about Jesus, pretending to accept His authority. But it is useless to try to fool God by pretending to love Him and worship Him. 2*. Be careful that you are not fooled by some religious leader saying nice things about Jesus but who really wants you to trust what he can do for you instead of what Jesus did! 3*.
The trick question was to try to get Jesus into trouble for His answer. If He favoured the paying of taxes to the Romans He would quickly become very unpopular with the people; and if He said anything against paying taxes they would report Him to the Roman authorities!
Jesus said, "Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?"
"Caesar's," they replied. He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." 4*.
Jesus had trapped them with His answer! Not only should they pay their taxes to whatever government God allows to be in charge of their country, but they should also be willing to do whatever God their Maker required of them! 5*.
We are all dependent on God's kindness every day! 6*. His greatest kindness was when He presented His own Son as a sacrifice of atonement for us, so that through faith in His blood we could receive complete forgiveness of sins from Him. 7*. Having been offered such undeserved kindness from God should cause us to want to repent - to turn to Him with all our heart and to love, trust and obey Him! 8*.
Some people will not take this message seriously. Like those who say "Why pay taxes?" when you can find ways to cheat in the paying of taxes and still enjoy the benefits of the honest tax payer! They might get away with this, but you can be sure of this: No one will enjoy the benefits of God's eternal salvation who does not truly repent of their sins in this life and trust wholly in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour! 9*. God cannot be fooled or tricked! 10*.
Don't be like those we have just heard about in this story from Luke chapter 20, verses 20-26. They could say such nice things about Jesus and yet rejected Him as their Priest and Saviour!
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To read more of Luke's account of the life of Jesus turn to the Gospel of Luke in the Holy Bible.
Bye for now,
John Nixon, Ballincollig, Co.Cork, Ireland.
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Bible quotations from N.I.V.
1 Luke 20:20-22.
2 Matthew 15:8-9.
3 Matthew 7:21-29.
4 Luke 20:23-25.
5 Romans 13:6-8.
6 Matthew 5:43-48. Acts 14:11-18. Lamentations 3:22-23.
7 Romans 3: 23-26. John 3:16-19.
8 Romans 2:4. Acts 20:21. 26:20.
9 Acts 4:12. John 14:6.
10 Galatians 6:7.