Paying Taxes to
Christ the Son
of David (22:41-46)
Hypocrites, marveled, resurrection,
astonished, commandment, Christ, Son of David.
flattering words, which led to the question that followed, pressured Jesus to
answer their question. Essentially, they were saying, “Since you teach the
truth and do not try to please men, you should be able to answer our question
without being afraid of offending anyone.” On the surface, they appeared to
respect Jesus’ integrity. In their hearts, they had devised a plot to entangle
2a. He would have
offended the majority of the Jews.
2b. He would have
been charged with treason against Caesar.
3a. We still need to fulfill our obligations to earthly
authorities while we devote ourselves to the service of God.
3b. Jesus first
asked them a question about whose inscription it was on the coin. He used their
response to answer their own question. Since the people enjoyed the benefits of
the Roman rule, they ought to give to Caesar what was rightfully his. But
contrary to what many Jews at the time believed, paying taxes to Caesar did not
and should not conflict with their loyalty to God. While expecting the coming
of the Messianic kingdom, the people of God still must fulfill their
responsibilities to the governing authorities.
4. In a narrower
sense, we need to supply for the work of God with tithes and offerings, which
rightfully belong to God (Mal 3:8-10). In a broader sense, we should offer our
entire being and life to God because He made us and have given us life (see Mt
22:37). Just as we have obligations to fulfill as citizens of an earthly
nation, we who are citizens of the heavenly kingdom must all the more serve God
with absolute dedication.
5. Unless the
earthly government opposes the teachings of God, it is the duty of all
Christians to submit to our governments. We do so not only because we have
enjoyed the governments protection and benefits, but also for the glory of God
(Rom 13:1-7; 1Pet 2:13-17).
6. They hoped to
prove that belief in resurrection is absurd.
7a. They were ignorant of the Scripture’s reference to the
resurrection of the dead (Isa 26:19; Dan 12:2; Job
19:25-27). So Jesus pointed out their ignorance by asking them in 31, “have you
7b. The Sadducees
rejected God’s word, thinking that it was irrational. They did not believe that
God’s promise will surely come to pass even if it seems impossible or illogical
self-identification as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob showed that these people were alive to God even though they had died
physically (Lk 20:38). God, who is eternal and who is
faithful to His everlasting covenant, would not identify Himself as the God of
8b. The Sadducees
believed that human beings cease to exist in body and spirit upon death, and along this line of reasoning, there is no
resurrection. But if Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all alive when they had
already died physically, it means that there is spiritual life after death.
This also means that resurrection, as promised by God in the Scripture, would
be entirely possible.
9. As many
Pharisees and teachers of the law who have tried had learned, it is very difficult to summarize the
law or give one commandment more importance than another. So the question to
Jesus was to test His ability as a teacher of the law and to find fault in His
10a. These two commandments form the basis of all other
commandments. Love is the spirit of the entire Scripture. Without these
commandments, the other commandments become incoherent and meaningless.
10b. It is like the first in that it originates from the first
and is directly tied to it. We can only truly love our neighbors if we first
dedicate ourselves to God and let His love fill our hearts. On the other hand,
the direct manifestation of our love for God is to love our neighbors as
ourselves (1Jn 4:12,20; 5:2).
11. The Pharisees
as well as the common people only thought of the Messiah as the Son of David
who would be heir to David’s throne. But the Lord Jesus, by citing Psalm 110,
showed them that such understanding was insufficient. Christ was not just a
descendent of David who would rule over Israel, but He was greater than David.
In fact, He was God himself.