Is there a dirtier word in the English language?
"They cheat us. They take more than they need. They use it for what I don't want them to use it for. They use it foolishly. There are billions of dollars they owe. They can't expect me to pay for it."
This was the same attitude of many Jews under the Roman government. In fact, a certain sect of men had been teaching that because the government was foreign and heathen, they shouldn't have to pay taxes to Caesar.
The Pharisees knew this. They knew people hated taxes. They also knew the government hated people who didn't pay taxes.
So they made a plan:
20 Keeping a close watch on him, the Pharisees sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
Tricky, huh? Get Jesus to say "no taxes" and that means he's a rebel worthy of arrest. Get Jesus to say "pay taxes" and that means he's upset his own crowd. He would be no longer worthy to be followed.
But Jesus is smarter than that.
23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent. (Luke 20:20-26)
Jesus shows his divine wisdom. He knows that his followers are called to serve in two kingdoms at once. He knows that they are citizens of the government and citizens of God's kingdom. This is true even if the government is non Christian like the Roman government that Jesus lived under.
Romans 13 tells us "No authority exists except that which has been established by God." That means God put our government in place for us. They are his representatives. They are to care for us and protect us.
In return, God asks us to support them. To pray for them. To respect them. To obey them. To...yep...pay taxes.
You get paid for doing your job? Shouldn't they get paid for doing theirs? To do otherwise, would be to slap God in the face and say, "I don' t like what you have established."
Because as Jesus said, "What is God's is God's."
And what is God's?
Yes, when the government rebels against God and promotes goes against God's plans -- that's on them. And in a democratic society where you have free speech and a vote that counts, you should certainly exercise it.
But today Jesus calls you to give what you owe the government to the government-- support, honor, respect, even taxes.
Why listen to Jesus?
Because that's what you owe Him.
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for my government. Thank you for the freedoms you have given me to worship you in the United States. Please bless our president, our congress, our governor, our military, and all the public servants who serve us. Lord lift up my heart to give them honor and respect even when I disagree with them and please, Lord, guide them to govern as Godly men and women with Godly hearts. When I am nervous about how things are going, then, Lord, help me to turn to you. Because you are always in control as my all loving, all knowing, all caring and all powerful Savior. To you be all glory, praise and honor. Amen.