Sunday 19 October 2014

Bible Book:

“Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (v. 21)

Matthew 22:15-22 Sunday 19 October 2014


Jesus asks for a coin. Why doesn't he get one out of his ownpocket? The answer may well be that he was a faithful Jew. The"coin used for tax" (v. 19) was Roman money. It was the enemy'smoney, a brutal enemy that had conquered and now oppressed theJewish people. Jesus was an 'exile' in his own land. The money alsohad an image on it; the image of the emperor, and in the cult ofRoman emperor, Caesar was a God. This was enemy money andidolatrous money. Strict Jews wouldn't carry it and even ordinaryJews had to change their Roman money for special money if theywanted to buy sacrifices at the temple. The story of the moneychangers in the temple (Matthew 21:12-17), reminds us of how Jesusviewed that particular custom.

What is interesting in this passage is how Jesus talks aboutdealing with the enemy. As in the book of Jeremiah he teaches anattitude to those who have power over you (eg Jeremiah 29:7). But not only that, Jesusexplicitly rejects the Caesar cult - and distinguishes between whatwe give to an emperor and what we should rightly give to God.

To Ponder

  • We can often feel we are no longer in a 'Christian country' -almost as if we were in exile: "How could we sing the Lord's songin a foreign land'? (Psalm137:4). How does Jesus' teaching resonate with your experiencenow and how does it challenge it?
  • Is paying tax a moral issue? And if so, what difference doesthat make to how you view your own paying of taxation?


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