Do We Have to Give to God and Pay Taxes?
Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Luke 19:47. Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. Luke 22:1-2.
Jerusalem is and has always been busy even on a slow day. But, during the week of Passover, then and now, the people were in constant motion. The women were feeling the pressure of purchasing all the necessary food for the Passover meal with the extended family. Every street was packed since everyone that could possibly come home for Passover had come. Lines were long at every vendor. The days started early and went into the night as the “shopping days left” until Passover were rapidly counting down.
For those that were not involved in the purchasing and other arrangements that needed to be made for the holiday, they could be found milling about the temple mount. In Jerusalem, that was the gathering place. Forty acres atop Mount Moriah was the location of the heart of Judaism. There was the beautiful temple that had been restored by Herod. White marble with gold was brilliantly radiant in the sunlight. For the rural travelers to be in the city and to have the privilege of greeting friends and family there was invigorating to every Jew.
The priests were there along with vendors selling sacrificial animals and religious items so that pilgrims could offer sacrifices there once they purchased the animal to be killed. Sadly, greed had captured the hearts of those doing the selling. Prices were exorbitant and the common man struggled to have enough to buy the lamb for the sacrifice. Jesus saw the way people were treated that came to earnestly worship. The extortion of the poor and the wrangling at the place of prayer and worship angered Him. He was furious. Scripture records what He did… When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. (Luke 19:45).
His actions greatly angered the religious leaders. Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So 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. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent. (Luke 20:20-26).
These same men (along with the billions of people who have ever lived) will stand before Jesus one day, and on that day, they will also “become silent”. For no one will have any plea in the Hall of Justice before the Throne of God if they never accepted the shed blood of the Lamb of God to cover their sins. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities …have been clearly seen … people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)