and Herodians came to Jesus with a loaded question:
Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
But...he said to them, ....
Bring me a coin, and let me look at it.
And they brought one...he said to them, Whose likeness
and inscription is this? They said to him, "Caesar's." Jesus
said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are
Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark
Everyone understands the first part, for Jesus is
commanding to give Caesar his tax. The lie comes at the last line.
What are we to render to God? From the Matthew
Henry Commentary on this verse, we have this, which is typical of the
church:Many that seem careful to give to men their due, are in no care
to give God the glory due to his name.
The sum of the doctrine then becomes, give the nation it's taxes,
and give God his glory.
Who can object to this?
Giving glory to God
is about the safest thing a person can do within Christendom. It costs
nothing, which is also good because, after paying our taxes, we may have
nothing left for God! Yes, we should give God his glory but that is
not what Jesus means here and to see it thus obscures his teaching and renders
us blind to the Truth, which may cost one everything!
Now, turn a deaf ear to the churchmen and listen carefully to Jesus
and you will quickly learn the Truth of this saying. The coin illustrates
a principle, which is that the image identifies the owner. The coin
therefore belongs to Caesar because it bears his image and inscription -
give it to him! So, when Jesus immediately followed with the words,
and to God the things that are God's, he could only
have meant one thing: render to God what bears his image and inscription.
The "glory of God" bears neither image nor inscription, therefore
Jesus doesn't mean this. What does bear the image of God?
Then God said, Let us make man
in our image, after our likeness . . . So God created man in his own
image, in the image of God he created him...
Isn't that simple? Give Caesar his coin but
give God his man! In modern
parlance, Caesar becomes the nation, state, or Republic. Therefore,
the Word to his disciples has this negative import: do not give the man
to the state. When citizens pledge allegience to the Republic, they
are violating the Word of Jesus and leaving nothing for God who does not
accept glory from such. Jesus' disciples have their unique state authority,
the Kingdom of God:
not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the
National citizenship excludes
that of the Kingdom. This is most evident in wartime when the state
orders, Bombs away! and the King orders, Love
your enemy, (Matt. 5:44) and Do not resist one who is evil.(Matt.