Under God’s Authority-Mark 12:13-17

Mark 12:13-17 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 you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, 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 taxes 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 portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.”
Marco 12:13-17 « Gli mandarono alcuni farisei ed erodiani per coglierlo in fallo nel parlare. 14 Arrivati, gli dissero: «Maestro, noi sappiamo che tu sei sincero e che non hai riguardi per nessuno, perché non badi all’apparenza delle persone, ma insegni la via di Dio secondo verità. È lecito, o no, pagare il tributo a Cesare? Dobbiamo pagare o non dobbiamo pagare?» 15 Ma egli, conoscendo la loro ipocrisia, disse loro: «Perché mi tentate? Portatemi un denaro, ché io lo veda». 16 Essi glielo portarono ed egli disse loro: «Di chi è questa effigie e questa iscrizione?» Essi gli dissero: «Di Cesare». 17 Allora Gesù disse loro: «Rendete a Cesare quel che è di Cesare e a Dio quel che è di Dio». Ed essi rimasero completamente meravigliati di lui.”
     Once again envoys were sent to try and entrap Jesus. The Pharisees and Herodians were not on friendly terms with each other but they both had a common enemy: Jesus. If it meant joining forces to trick Him, they would do it. They began with a series of flowering accolades to Jesus stating that He was a man of integrity, not influenced by the culture and taught the truth of God. After being so maligned by this group and knowing their hearts, Jesus suddenly heard their praise of His standards. 
     The question they posed concerned the poll tax to Caesar and asked if it was legally permissible to pay tribute to a foreign heathen ruler. They were obviously referring to Deuteronomy 17:14-15 that says Israel should never put a foreigner to rule over them. Because of their reluctance to pay this tax, it would bolster their case against Jesus if He gave an unfavorable answer. It is interesting that the Pharisees were against the tax but the Herodians were for it. A yes or no answer would agitate one group or the other and trap Jesus in the middle.
     The answer of Jesus is not what either group expected, however. He does not focus on the answer but on the currency of the day which could be used to pay the poll tax. His question was: What kind of money was being utilized and whose picture was on the coin? If one used Caesar’s coin for commerce, it meant that you accepted his authority and the benefits of the civil government. This was the payment for using Caesar’s money. Jesus doesn’t stop with this answer but also instructs them to remember that their obligation to support the work of God likewise meant that His authority and rulership was to be accepted over all man-made entities and powers. By doing this, the Deuteronomy law was reinforced that God was the supreme ruler. As usual, Jesus’ answer amazed them!
Pray with me: Lord, I sometimes get frustrated having to support a human economic system that is flawed. Help me to be a responsible believer as I live under Your guidance and authority.

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