Trying to trap Jesus in His words, His enemies collaborated in an attempt to force Him to choose a side between God and government. Jesus’ response teaches us what our commitment to both should be.
13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
The Question (Mark 12:13-14)
- The religious Pharisees and the political Herodians couldn’t stand each other but hated Jesus more.
- We live in a time when religious and cultural forces are hostile towards the work of Christ.
- The enemies of Christ can use helpful or hurtful governments to lure believers away from biblical positions.
The Answer (Mark 12:15-17)
- Any item belongs to the one by whose image it has been stamped.
- Give to the government what belongs to the government, and give to God what belongs to God.
- We should obey the government’s stance until it contradicts the Bible’s standard.
- If we truly mean in God we trust, then there is no area in our lives outside of His jurisdiction.
- There is no amount of difference, disability, or deformity in a person that should cause us to deny them dignity.
- Being pro-life means you want to offer those within the womb the right to make their own choice.
- Sin disfigures God’s image on us, but Christ came to give us a makeover.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.