Luke 19:45-21:38, Proverbs 27
If Jesus was a writer instead of the world’s Savior, He undoubtedly would be the best. I don’t say this simply because of our Lord’s many parables, such as the one about tenants and a vineyard (Luke 20:9-19). What I have in mind is Jesus’ ability to respond to friends and opponents in ways that force them to lean into Jesus words to understand His multilayered meanings, and dwell on what they have just heard for the rest of their lives. Jesus’ answer to the question about paying taxes to Caesar shows Jesus’ ability to challenge without about being overly direct, and to teach without being pedantic. Of course these Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus in either a Pro-Israel message of refusing to pay taxes (alarming Roman authorities), or a Pro-Roman message of maintaining the status quo (agitating Jewish neighbors). In a masterful stroke, Jesus shows He is no zealot seeking to amass a rebellion against Rome, while He also undermines the totalitarian claims of Caesar's regime. Jesus will pay taxes, while recognizing that both Ceasar and Rome’s coins exist in God’s sovereign realm, where Jesus as King is breaking in to usher His rule, not by military might, but by dying a sacrificial death so that all captives might be set free. But God will also place Ceasar and all other rulers under the feet of the Lord risen from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). So indeed, give to Caesar what is Caesar's, like coins that will rust, and give to God what is God’s namely everything we have. Today my hope is you see I have just scratched the surface of Jesus’ teaching on paying taxes. Jesus’ mastery of words to constantly transform our understanding of, well everything, is one of many reasons to be amazed at our glorious King.