Tribute To Caesar
Jesus' enemies decided that the only way they could keep him from teaching was to interrupt him with many questions. First they sent Pharisees to ask if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar, the Roman ruler.
The Jews hated to pay these taxes. Jesus' enemies knew the people would no longer want to make Jesus their king if he said it was
right for them to pay taxes. But if Jesus said it was wrong to pay taxes, his enemies would report him to the Roman government. Then
the Romans would punish him.
When the Pharisees came to Jesus, they said, "Master, we know you are true. You teach God's way without caring whether people like
what you say or not." The Pharisees did not believe this, but they wanted to flatter Jesus. Then they added, "Tell us what you think.
Is it right or wrong to pay tax money to Caesar?"
The Pharisees had thought Jesus would answer either yes or no, but they were mistaken. Jesus knew the evil in their hearts. He
paid no attention to their flattery. "Why do you tempt me, you hypocrites?" he asked.
"Show me the money."
They brought him a penny. Jesus looked at the coin on both sides. "Whose likeness is this on the coin? Whose name is written here?"
The men answered that Caesar's name and picture were on the coin. "Then," said Jesus, "give to Caesar the things that belong to
him, and give to God the things that belong to God."
How surprised the men were at his answer! Again they had failed to trick Jesus. Now they still had no reason to accuse him. Other
enemies brought hard questions, and Jesus answered them all.