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Bible Teaching, Bible Study, Teaching, Verses, Sermons, online, mp3, classesA Bible Teaching Ministry of Galyn Wiemers

Daily Devotions, Evening and Morning Devotional


Sunrise on Temple Mount in Jerusalem; Back to Previous Devotion

October 5 - Evening

[The Pharisees and Herodians said:]
"Tell us then, what is your opinion?
Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

"But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, 
'You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?
Show me the coin used for paying the tax.' ” 

They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.' "
- Matthew 22:17-21

Sunset on the Sea of Galilee; Click to go to next devotion  
Caesar's Coin on the Temple Mount    

When the Pharisees and Herodians invited Jesus to comment on political issues and sectarian tensions, they were trying to lure him into their turf where together they could divide and conqueror his public popularity. The Pharisees and the Herodians were politically polar opposites. The Pharisees were a conservative, patriotic Bible-believing religious group of Jews who opposed King Herod and the Roman empire that gave him power. On the other side of the debate was a political party supporting Herod and the Herodian dynasty called the Herodians. These two parties of contrasting beliefs questioned Jesus concerning the subject of Roman taxation, one of the most divisive political issues between the Pharisees and Herodian.

The Herods were responsible to collect and pay a heavy tribute to Rome to secure their favored position and their needed support of Rome. In the process of collection the Herods would collect a substantial amount above and beyond Rome’s demand to help compensate their efforts and maintain their own government, military and life style. In addition to this the perfects of Judea such as Pontius Pilate would collect a poll and land tax to be sent directly to Rome. Of course, the Jewish Temple and religious system received none of the benefits of this money, so the Jewish religious leaders collected their own tax. So, together the taxes collected by Herod, Pilate and the Temple authorities were financially crushing the people. In his work the Bible Background Commentary Keener estimates that 49% of the annual income of a Jewish family went to these taxes:

  1. 32% to Rome (19% crops; 13% sales and income)
  2. 12% to Jew (8% crops; 4% Temple and sacrifices)
  3. 5% to corrupt officials

If Jesus had responded negatively towards Roman taxation of Jews he would naturally be labeled anti-Rome and would be associated with previous rebels who had led revolts against Rome because of this very issue of taxation (the revolt of Judas of Galilee in 6 AD which founded the Zealot political group which ultimately led to the Jewish revolt in 66 AD). If Jesus, who was now a popular public figure, renounced Roman taxation on the Temple Mount it is likely he would been arrested, and possibly executed, as a rebel. If Jesus had chosen to speak out against Roman taxation, this would be a legitimate punishment for insurrection. Jesus would have died for rebellion against Rome instead of for the sins of the world. In fact, Luke says something very close to this:

“They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.” – Luke 20:20

In contrast to speaking out against Rome, Jesus could have sided with Rome and then watched his worshipful crowd reject him because of his political stance on taxation. For sure, the public opinion will turn against Jesus, but it must not be over a political statement addressing taxation. Jesus is to go to the cross as the rejected Messiah, not as a sympathizer of the Roman Empire.

But, neither is Jesus’ response a crafty answer that avoids the question like politicians often seem to do when they maneuver all around an issue without really say anything.
Jesus’ answer is both an offensive attack on his accusers and at the same time a lesson in a basic biblical view concerning the doctrine of government.

First, Jesus attacks his questioners by simply asking for a coin. Any Jewish coin would never have an portrait of a man on it since that would be considered an “image” and a violation of the second commandment. Any coin that the Herod’s minted contained a helmet, a shield, an anchor, cornucopia, ceremonial bowl, pomegranate and, on one very rare case, an eagle. The vain, self-promoting, self-preserving Herod never put his image on a Jewish coin in order to avoid the outcry from the pius Jewish people. Rome’s coins came complete with the emperor’s image and an inscription identifying the Roman emperor as Divi Filius, or “son of a god.” These coins were forbidden to be used by Jews and would be unthinkable to carry them into the Temple Mount. Because of this the Romans allowed the Jews to mint their own coins for use in their own land.

With this knowledge Jesus asks his opponents to give him a coin while standing on the Temple Mount. The coin that Jesus is given is a Roman Denarius (the smallest silver coin in circulation in Israel and equal to a day’s wages). Yes, a forbidden Roman coin minted by the oppressors themselves complete with the “idolatrous” image of Tiberius Caesar and the inscription of his ascribed deity on the obverse side. On the reverse side was Pax, the Roman goddess of peace, seated and encircled with the inscription “High Priest” (see coin here).

Jesus simply asks, “Whose portrait? Whose inscription?” They answer, “Caesar’s.” Their possession of the “idolatrous” coin is self-condemning, and to have it with them on the Temple Mount earns them the title of rebuke from the Lord: “You hypocrites.”

The second point Jesus makes is doctrinal and one that is often confused: Government is established by God. Government is a good institution. Throughout the New Testament government officials are respected and their governmental duties are honorable. There is no evil vs. good contrast between government and God. In fact, God established government.

Because of this doctrinal truth, Jesus has no trouble telling his critics the issue of taxation is not his concern. It is Caesar’s rightful position and Caesar's coin. So, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But, give to God what is God’s. The people had become so engrossed in politics and rebellion against government that they had neglected to give to God his rightful portion of his respect and honor.  You do not need to neglect either God nor Government. Both can be honored and respected in their rightful place.

The text then says:

                “When they heard this they were amazed.”

Right, because no one had ever explained it to them from the biblical position before.

  Christian Quote from Church History

Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society's own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender. 
- A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)





Something to Ponder??
When Ulfilas brought the Bible to the Goths around 250 AD he purposely left out First
and Second Kings because
he didn’t think the warrior culture of the Goths should
be encouraged by the wars
of the Kings of Judah/Israel.
Hebrew and Greek Word Study   Facts and Information


Koinonia (Gr) -  Fellowship (Eng) - the Greek word koinonia refers to fellowship or relationship between people. Koinonia describes that intimate interaction between people that could be
recognized by the sharing of food, ideas, values, beliefs, etc. Koinonia can describe a
community of people with a common purpose.

  An impression in clay (called a bulla) made in the 700's BC from a seal says in Hebrew: "Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz, King of Judah." The clay impression is1/2 inch in diameter and has a winged scarab beetle similar Egyptian art. According to the Bible Hezekiah (715-686 BC) was the son of Ahaz who ruled Judah. (more here)
Confession to Action   Facts and Information
Do I respect the government and the authorities that God has established?
I will honor men for their positions and titles without neglecting
to honor and serve God who is in a greater position and with greater authority.
  "He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly."
Proverbs 5:23
Bible Reading Program Details
Read the Bible in a Year; Bible Reading Program
Read one chapter each day to read through the narrative portion (or, the story line) of the whole Bible Genesis-Acts in one year. Read the General Text of the Bible Read the Complete Text of the Bible in a Year
(morning only) Luke 24 Luke 5; John 1:15-51
Prayer for Today
Personal Prayer Church Prayer Item National Prayer Concerns World Prayer Concerns
Neighbors Stand firm in face of opposition and persecution Unions and workers
(Click on "Nation" or "World" headings for
daily updates)
Philippines - need for solid Bible teaching, discipleship and rid of second-generation complacency
Photo of Jerusalem; Pictures of Israel Bible Map and Diagram
Inscription at Gates of Hades at Caesarea Philippi Ephesians 4:27-30

This is the Greek inscription above the fourth niche and beside the fifth niche in the large rock formation at Caesarea Philippi beside the cave known as the Gates of Hades. This mutilated inscriptioin reads:

"For Pan and the nymphs, Victor son of Lysimachos with his children dedicated a likeness in stone of Hermes, child of Maia, son of Zeus,
having vowed it, the year 150"

In Jesus' time a temple stood in front of cave. In the cave or the grotto was a very deep pool that they never could measure (according to Josephus) and a powerful stream of water flowed. The cave was believed to be the gates to Hades. Several other shrines and temples stood here including this one to Caesar. The niches in the wall held images of the gods Pan, Echo and Hermes.
(click on image for larger size)
Ephesians 4:27-30: The Devil or The Holy Spirit will have a foothold and room to move. (click on image for larger size)
Details and Explanation of Sets & Reps Devotional System Here Make a donation to support Generation Word Bible Teaching Ministry
Reps & Sets is a daily Bible devotional for Christians from Generation Word Bible Teaching used each morning and evening.

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Generation Word - Bible Teaching Ministry   Generation Word - Bible Teaching Ministry