15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.”
So they brought Him a denarius.
20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.
Tax season has come to an end. It means different things to different folks. To many it means the government gives back some money which they have held and used all year, to others it means the government gives some folks’ money to other folks, and finally there is the increasingly small group that writes the checks and pays the bills. Those of us in the last category can certainly relate to the occupied Israelites who paid a high price in taxes to a foreign government. I have often marveled at Jesus’ clever response to this attempt to trap Him.
I am currently reading Has Christianity Failed You? by Ravi Zacharias. Like most of Zacharias’ writing it is rich in material that prompts deep thought. Regarding this matter of rendering to Caesar, Zacharias points out that there should have been a follow up question. “What is God’s?” The answer would be just as Caesar’s image was on the coin, God’s image is on us. We were created in His image. We are His therefore, we should render ourselves to God.
We clearly worry too much about who owns what in our world. It is much more important to continually operate with an understanding that we are His, made in His image. If that dominates our thinking, our mind will be closer to His and our actions will be more in tune with His will.
Render to God what is God’s and