Whom do we owe what?

Last updated on April 19, 2021

memorize Bible verses

“Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)

During Jesus’ ministry on earth, some religious leaders tried to entangle Him in his words. They came up with a delicate question: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” Caesar was the emperor of the Romans, who ruled over Israel. If Jesus was to say paying taxes was unlawful, He would get in trouble with the Romans. If He said people should pay taxes, He would be considered a friend of the enemy and lose people’s sympathy.

But Jesus gave an answer that went far deeper than a dispute about taxes. He asked for a coin that had Caesar’s portrait and name on it. That settled the discussion: if the coin was Caesar’s, it should be given to him. Taxes must be paid, even if we don’t like the government. But Jesus continued his answer: “… and [render] to God the things that are God’s”.

What is it that bears God’s likeness and inscription, and thus belongs to Him? The answer is found in the first chapter of the Bible: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him” (Genesis 1:27).

Jesus’ message is concise but clear: it is fine to pay taxes to Caesar, but we should give ourselves to God!

How do you show God your thankfulness? Is your life characterized by gratitude?

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