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Saturday, July 31, 2010

8/1/10- Mark 12:13-17 Paying Taxes

13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn't we?" But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose image is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied.
17 Then Jesus said to them, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him.

(Denarius with Julius Caesar's head)

Thoughts: For those who see Jesus as a radical revolutionary, this has to be a disappointing passage.  But for those who see Jesus as someone whose message goes beyond politics this is an important living parable.  In another instance Jesus told Peter to pay the temple tax by taking the money out of the fish's mouth.  Before this he noted that the owner should not have to pay taxes.  Here Jesus, who was king of kings, submitted to earthly authority.  In the end, Jesus paid taxes to a government that would kill him.  It is an example to us all- not only of paying taxes to government, but also of self-control, and of a proper attitude toward government.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your example of self-control and grace. 

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