Matthew 22:15-22 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose isthis image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. 22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
Here is a situation where a group of people tried to use governmental authority as a platform to entrap or entangle Jesus. Jesus faced what was perceived to be a no win situation. If he would have said it was not lawful to give tribute to Caesar then they would have thrown the law back in his face and then they could have used that against him. If he would have said it is right to give tribute to Caesar then they would have questioned his allegiance to God. Either answer he would have given would have been used against him. Jesus dropped a truth bomb on them that sent them walking away defeated. The truth that Jesus presented is the exact truth we as Christians need to utilize through these times where our liberties are being slowly removed.
Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s
First of all, the people that would put you and I in this kind of position are a bunch hypocrites that want to divide and cause a greater amount of deception. Be very aware of these people. They do not care about you and they do not care about the laws of our land. They care about themselves and their own personal agenda to discredit others. Secondly, we must realize that this statement can give us a compass to hold up in the backdrop of times of uncertainty. We must understand that the coin had Caesar’s image on it. Humanity has God’s image attached to it. The coin belonged to Caesar, but we belong to God. We can pay tribute to Caesar with the things that belong to Caesar, but God has called us to be his image bearers.
We are maneuvering through some days where our loyalties are going to be in question. There are going to be groups that do their best to entrap Christians in order to discredit their message. Make no bones about it folks, our priority and focus is the message of the gospel. We must understand that the mark of God’s image on our lives puts us under his authority, not man’s. In a nut shell, we can give tribute to that which our government requires as long as it does not interfere with our obedience and honoring the Lord. In order to do this we have to make sure our hearts are surrendered to the Lord. A surrendered life to the Lord will have the discernment to understand when and where to make that decision.
As Kingdom citizens we become the greatest of earthly citizens. Kingdom citizens operate by a standard that is a lot higher than that of our civil government. As kingdom citizens we proudly serve as citizens within our own country, state, and community. There are going to be times when our allegiance to God contradicts our allegiance to our country. In our country we cannot be more American than Christian. We have to be more Christian than American. My obedience to God and the gospel is the ultimate priority.