Mark 12:13,14 And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?
It’s the final week of Jesus’ earthly life, and the inevitable conflict with the religious hierarchy of His day is going to come to a head. We see in our study that Jesus is being confronted by the strange alliance of the Pharisees and the Herodians. That would be like Adolph Hitler and the President of Israel going out to dinner together. What brought these two rival groups together was their mutual hatred for Jesus Christ. The trap they sought to catch Jesus in was whether or not it was right to pay taxes to Ceasar. If Jesus said yes, the Jews would believe that He was siding with the enemy of Israel. If He said no, He would be arrested as an insurrectionist. How would Jesus reply? “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marveled at Him.” (Mark 12:17)
Jesus saw right through the religious hypocrisy and flattery of the Pharisees. He knew that they couldn’t care less about whether or not they should pay taxes; they just wanted Him out of the picture, and this matter of paying taxes would put the proverbial nail in His coffin. Jesus’ answer about the image on the coin leveled both of these opposing parties.
Yes, God teaches us that human government is ordained by Him and is to be submitted to, with the only exception being when the government commands us to disobey God. But for the religious hypocrites, Jesus said that being made in the image of God means that we owe everything to God. Until a person is born again, Jesus Christ will be a threat to their self-rule. The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is this: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
Whose image do you live for, Caesar’s or Christ’s? Selah