Matthew 22: 15-22
This pericope of Jesus and the Pharisees is often used by many as a simple question concerning taxes. It is often seen as Jesus giving permission to his followers to pay taxes while being faithful Christians. A closer reading; however, brings much more into play.
Jesus is teaching a much greater truth of possession, literally, to whom one belongs. The likeness of Caesar was found on the coin along with the inscription “Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti Filius Augustus Pontifex Maximus”, (Tiberius Caesar, august son of the divine Augustus, high priest). Here Caesar is declaring that he is the son of god and the true high priest. This is a true juxtaposition for sure as Jesus is the true Son of God and High Priest forever.
Remember, the tax could be paid only in Roman coins which would all bear this picture and inscription; thus, just carrying this coin and paying taxes with it was a concession that you concurred with the sentiment it espoused. This placed one in direct opposition to Jesus and declared a person’s allegiance to Caesar.
The question still stands; to whom do you belong?
Prayer: Lord, help us to remain faithful to you. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Carlin Ours, Pastor of Organ Lutheran Church, Salisbury, NC.