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Caesar: What Did Jesus say about Caesar

Jesus’ statement about Caesar is found in the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—where He addresses the issue of paying taxes to Caesar. The most direct account is in Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, and Luke 20:20-26. The Pharisees and Herodians attempt to trap Jesus with a question about the legality of paying taxes to the Roman Emperor (Caesar). Jesus’ response is both insightful and instructive.

Bible Verses:

Matthew 22:15-22 (ESV)
“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.”

Three Main Takeaways:

  1. The Distinction Between Secular and Spiritual Obligations:
  • Jesus highlights a fundamental principle that there is a distinction between our obligations to the government (secular authorities) and our obligations to God (spiritual authorities). His answer does not dismiss the legitimacy of government or its right to levy taxes but rather acknowledges the role of governmental authority within its sphere.
  1. The Principle of Dual Loyalty:
  • Jesus’ teaching introduces the principle of dual loyalty for His followers. Christians are called to be responsible citizens, respecting and honoring the laws of the land, including financial obligations like taxes. Simultaneously, they must prioritize their allegiance to God, ensuring that their spiritual duties and worship are not compromised.
  1. Wisdom in Navigating Tricky Situations:
  • The manner in which Jesus addresses the question shows His wisdom in dealing with attempts to trap Him. He navigates the political and religious sensitivities of His time with discernment, providing an answer that leaves His questioners amazed. This teaches us the value of wisdom and discernment in responding to challenging questions, especially those designed to entrap or divide.

Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and Herodians about paying taxes to Caesar offers deep insights into the Christian’s relationship with government and God, emphasizing the importance of fulfilling our earthly responsibilities without compromising our ultimate loyalty to God.


  • Greg Gaines

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