Yep, it’s tax season again! Have you ever asked yourself the question of why we pay taxes at all?
Wouldn’t it be great if we discovered that Christians are tax exempt? And, what did Jesus say about paying taxes?
In these passages from Mark 12, Jesus explains why the people should pay tax.
And, He explains why they should tithe to God. A good Bible study lesson for us to follow in our lives.
So, what did Jesus say about paying taxes? Let’s find out and see if Christians should pay their fair share..
What Did Jesus Say about Paying Taxes? “Render to Caesar..”
Should we pay our local, state and federal income tax? What did Jesus say about paying taxes in Mark? Caesar collected taxes and the people did not like paying them (same as us) but, what to do?
Read the Biblical answer Jesus gives the Pharisees..
Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement.
They came and said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth.
Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?
Shall we pay or shall we not pay?”
But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me?
Bring Me a denarius to look at.
”They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”
And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
And they were amazed at Him. – Mark 12:13-17 NASB
Who Were the Pharisees and Herodians?
Of course, we know the Pharisees well. These are the religious leaders of the day; the keepers of the law.
As we’ve seen countless times throughout the New Testament, the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus into answering questions which would incriminate Him. They never succeeded.
Just as the name implies, the Herodians were a group (some say a political movement) who approved of the compromises Herod made with Rome.
Most days, the Pharisees & Herodians had very little to do with each other. But, they united on several occasions when verbally attacking Jesus was beneficial to both.
And, each group saw Jesus as a threat.
Rome and Taxes – One Simple Rule
And, as you may know, Rome was ruling over Judea at this time so paying taxes to Caesar was not optional.
Basically, Rome had one simple rule about taxes. Everybody pays or else!
Ironically, many of these taxes went to things that the Jewish community loathed such as a high & decadent lifestyle.
Also, a portion of the taxes paid by Jews went to support the pagan temples and gods.
Was Jesus Loyal to Herod?
Not at all. But, the question was a trap – as many were.
Jesus knew what the taxes paid to Rome were financing. But, He also knew He would be entrapped by either a “yes” or “no” answer.
He could either show loyalty to Rome or to the people of Judea, but not both.
“Render to Caesar..”
As many times before, Jesus knew the hearts of the religious leaders. So, He gave a creative answer – one that we should live by.
Caesar’s picture was on the denarius (about a day’s wage), so Jesus said that this money belonged to Rome.
What Did Jesus Say about Paying Taxes – and God? Who Do We Give to?
Yes, Ceasar’s money belonged to Rome, and taxes went to him.
But, God’s picture is on the hearts of His people. As Christians, this means our lives belong to Him.
A past pastor of our church used to say every Sunday; “Let’s give back to God now.” And, I have a feeling he wasn’t just talking about our Sunday tithes and offerings.
God gave us everything – including life. Jesus gives us everlasting life which is why He went to the cross.
Can’t we give a portion of our lives back to Him?
Let’s give back to God with our hearts and souls and hands and feet. Doesn’t God deserve our very best?
Love in Christ
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