ESOCS Devotional 5 June 2023
MEMORY VERSE: “And Jesus answering said unto them, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God, the things that are God’s. And they marveled at him”. Mark 12:17
TEXT: ST MARK 12:13-17
13 But they sent some of the Pharisees and of the Herodians to Him for the purpose of entrapping Him in His speech.
14 And they came up and said to Him, Teacher, we know that You are sincere and what You profess to be, that You cannot lie, and that You have no personal bias for anyone; for You are not influenced by partiality and have no regard for anyone’s external condition or position, but in [and on the basis of] truth You teach the way of God. Is it lawful (permissible and right) to give tribute (poll taxes) to Caesar or not?
15 Should we pay [them] or should we not pay [them]? But knowing their hypocrisy, He asked them, Why do you put Me to the test? Bring Me a coin (a denarius), so I may see it.
16 And they brought [Him one]. Then He asked them, Whose image (picture) is this? And whose superscription (title)? They said to Him, Caesar’s.
17 Jesus said to them, Pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. And they stood marveling and greatly amazed at Him.
Payment of taxes to government is a civic responsibility of all residents of a country. Depending on the type of tax (whether income, VAT, business premises, vehicle license, property tax, etc). They are used by government to provide services such as security, good roads, potable water, power supply, health facilities, education, etc. for the people. There is nothing in the Torah that prohibited the Jews from paying taxes. After all, they also paid temple tax for the upkeep of the temple (Matt. 17:24-27). Their excuse was that the image of Caesar on the denarius amounted to idolatry, yet they employed the coin in buying and selling. It was the legal tender in all Roman colonies.
The tax coin had Caesar’s image, so by his statement they were instructed to pay taxes to the government. We have already enumerated civic reasons why we should pay taxes to the government.
If by the image of Caesar on the coin, Caesar deserved to receive taxes, by the image of God on the coin also, what does God deserves to receive? “So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created them” (Gen. 1:27). The message of Jesus Christ here is that we give ourselves to God because we are His image. God will have nothing less than man; yes, the whole man. After all, He first gave Himself for man. The song writer, Frances R. Havergal Wrote:
Oh let thy life be given,
Thy years for me be spent,
World-fetters all be riven,
And joy with suffering blent,
I gave myself for thee,
Give thou thyself to me.
God deserves and demands that we give our hearts, our bodies, our minds, our time, our labour and whole being to His service and for His glory. Another scripture summarizes that we have to give our love back to God: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy strength (Mark 12:30-31).
- Pay your taxes to government. Give worship, services and your whole life to Jesus.
- Father Lord, I beseech thee help me to give my all to you.
FURTHER READING: Roman 13:1-7; Malachi 3:8-10
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ESOCS Devotional 5 June 2023