Sunday, April 10, 2011
It is April 15 this Friday.
Time to pay taxes!
Of course, we pay them all year long. We pay them every day. We pay them when we buy gas, buy food, pay our mortgage payment. We pay taxes when we die.
But right now, we are concentrating only on the income tax. The more you make, the more you pay.
We hate paying taxes. But no more than the people in the olden days. At the time of Christ, the Roman Empire controlled Palestine. They extorted taxes from the folks. Nobody liked paying those taxes.
It is the set up for today's story...
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away."
Ever since, we have used this phrase, first spoken by Jesus himself. Pay to Ceasar what is Ceasars, and to God what is God's.