“Should we pay the tax or not?” The Pharisees and scribes really thought they had Him this time. What was He going to say?  (Not that they really cared about the answer He would give; all they cared about was trapping Him.)  If He said that they should pay the tax, than surely the crowds that were hanging on His every word and deed would turn against Him and He would cease to have any kind of following and they wouldn’t have to worry about Him any more. If He said that the tax should not be paid, than all they had to do was hand Him over to the Romans.  Either way, or so they thought, there simply was no way out for Jesus.  But look what happened; Jesus asked for a coin because He didn’t have one. He didn’t have one because He did not rely on money; He was not part of the Roman system.  The Roman coinage, the Roman tax had little or no bearing on Him. But who showed Him the coin with Caesar’s insignia?  Of course the scribes and Pharisees did, and in so doing they exposed themselves. They exposed themselves as participating in the Roman economic system.  Jesus was basically saying to them, “If you are going to play the game with the Romans, than you have to play by their rules.” In other words, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”  The problem with the Pharisees and scribes, once again, is that they were hypocrites, and they were easily exposed as such by Jesus.  Their question was insincere; they did not care about it at all. They were obsessed with defeating Jesus, and because their motive was not pure, they did not stand a chance up against the pure light of Jesus.  They exposed themselves as being part and parcel of the Roman system.  That’s why we need to make sure that our motives are pure, that we “Give to God what is God’s”. If they are not we can be sure that we will expose something about ourselves that we do not want the world (or ourselves) to know.  Remember, they thought they had Jesus dead to rights.  Instead they trapped themselves.

AuthorCathy Remick