Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Give to Caesar...

Mark 12:13-17 (ESV)
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.

Taxes, everyone wants an excuse not to pay. It’s sort of curious here, that they, and presumably they means Pharisees, send both Pharisees and Herodians. Of course the Herodians will take the side that it is legal to pay the taxes, the Pharisees the other side, and a nice argument will ensue. At the end of the day they will both pay taxes so as not to end up in jail or dead. The Zealots might have avoided paying the taxes by killing the collector, but it is doubtful the Pharisees would go that far. In the end though, they are right, Jesus is not going to give an answer one way or another or take sides in the matter. He cuts through the Gordian knot. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s to God what is God’s. Pay your taxes, in other words.
Now the Pharisees would think that you shouldn’t pay taxes to Casesar because of all the evil that Caesar did. And Americans today might be tempted to the same thing. I really don’t like the idea that Planned Parenthood receives funds from my taxes. Meanwhile charities that I do support don’t get the same funding. Opf course being nonprofit they are given indirect support in that they aren’t taxed, and to a certain extent, the money I give them is money I get to deduct from my taxes. But in any case, as long as George Washington is on the Dollar, Christ’s reasoning applies. And believe me the Romans did the same evil if not worse with the money they extorted from the people.

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