April 21, 2021 - I want to talk about Matthew 22:15-22. In this text, we have another attempt by religious leaders to take down Jesus and what he is doing. This time they attempt to, as English Standard Version puts it, entangle him in his words. The leaders send their disciples out to ask the question that they thought was going to do it. They ask if it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? The thinking was that Jesus wouldn’t be able to answer.
If he said yes, the crowds that started to gather around him would be confused. They thought that Jesus was going to topple the Roman occupiers and take the throne of King David by way of the sword. To say that we ought to pay the taxes of Caesar wouldn’t fit the militant image the people contrived of Christ. If Christ said no, then the religious leaders had the evidence they needed to take to the Roman army and have them take Jesus away.
Christ answers them. After answering his initial question about Caesar’s likeness is on the coin, we read at the end of verse 21, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." The leaders marveled at this answer. There was an assumption that this was a yes and no question. We see here that yes, we ought to pay our taxes and give to God what belongs to him. In other words, just like we give our taxes, so should we, by the grace of God, use the gifts given to us to glorify God. If paying taxes helps our endeavor to live the Christian life, let us pay our taxes and continue praising God. While wealth is only temporary, the Gospel truth is eternal. The Gospel truth is that by the power of Christ, you are forgiven, amen.
Pastor’s Corner is a column from Pastor Wynter Sturtevant III of the Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church.
The Church has moved locations, services are now held at the Bootjack Stompers Hall (located at 4662 Morman Bar Crossing) across from the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.
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