Read Luke 19
Zacchaeus; triumphal entry; cleansing of the Temple; Jesus' authority questioned; paying tribute.
But He perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye Me? (Luke 20:23).
The Pharisees were always present in the crowds that surrounded Jesus. On this occasion the Pharisees conspired against Him with the cooperation of a minority group called the Herodians, irreligious Jews who urged submission to the Roman government (Matt. 22:16).
They asked Him a question on a burning issue that has caused much rebellion in Palestine: Should they be forced to pay taxes to a foreign government (Mark 12:13-14)? Since the minority Jews deeply resented being forced to pay Gentile taxes to the Roman government, the crowds would have turned against Jesus if He had said no.
The Herodian party would accuse Him of conspiracy against the Roman government, and Pilate then could have arrested Him for treason. If He said yes, the Pharisees would have been suspicious of Him. The Pharisees thought they had Him trapped.
In His wisdom, Jesus asked them to show Him a pence, one of their coins, a Roman denarius, which was accepted currency among the Jews. He then said, whose image and superscription hath it? They answered, Caesar's.
And He said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's. But the rest of His comment came as a stinging rebuke to their hypocrisy when He told them to render unto God the things which be God's (Luke 20:24-25). By his reply, Jesus not only answered their question, but He also exposed their inconsistency and hypocrisy in front of the crowds.
We, too, should obey the laws of the land as well as give our tithes and offerings to the Lord. As Christians faithfully render to God the things that are His, the Word of God can be more effectively proclaimed throughout the world.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (Ps. 29:2). Many people pay their taxes for no other reason than that they are terrified over the consequences of failure to do so; but Christians pay taxes, not as men-pleasers, but as seeking to please the Lord. As Christians, we may deplore how the government uses the taxes. But this does not exempt us from paying what the government requires.
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work (Titus 3:1).
Thought for Today:
Have the vile thoughts of greed and covetousness been removed from your life?
For Luke 19:38: See Ps. 118:26. Luke 19:46: See Is. 56:7; Jer. 7:11. Luke 20:17: See Ps. 118:22. Luke 20:28: See Deut. 25:5. Luke 20:37: See Ex. 3:6. Luke 20:42-43: See Ps. 110:1.
19:13 Occupy, Use your talent to buy and sell; 19:16 pound, a unit of money to illustrate opportunities to increase; 19:21 austere, stern, exacting; 20:20 feign themselves just men, pretend to be sincere followers.
Prayer Suggestion: Seek the Lord in prayer, turn from your sinful ways, and God will have mercy and pardon for you (Is. 55:6-7).
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:33-34