Jesus Questioned On Taxes

The of the four gospels record that Jesus was questions about paying tribute (tax) to Caesar. (Matt. 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26) The Pharisees did this after taking counsel together on how to trap Him, even including the Herodians in on the plan. 

They sent people pretending to be honest seekers to ask the question. Their hope was that he would play to the crowd and denounce the Roman governance (an easy thing to do) and then they could accuse Him of fomenting rebellion. 

Jesus easily saw through their ruse but still fully answered the question. He said that we should give the rulers of our land (whoever they are, and whatever land we’re in) what is rightfully due them. They have the power to tax us. The fact that the Jews were using Roman coins showed who was in charge, as did their armies in Jewish cities. 

But Jesus also acknowledged a higher and more important duty – the duty to God that we have wherever we are and no matter who civil authority does. So “Give to Caesar’s what’s Caesar’s, and to God what’s God’s.” Caesar is our king. God is our God. 

Those determined to condemn Jesus ignored His answer and told the authorities what they’d wished Jesus had said. “And they began to accuse Him, saying, "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” (Luke 23:2They lied about His answer because truth was not their goal.