The Gospel of Mark emphasizes Jesus' role as a servant. Join with us as we venture through one section of this vital gospel that recounts many of Jesus' actions during his ministry years.
Read Mark 12:13-17
Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn't we?"
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose image is this? And whose inscription?"
"Caesar's," they replied.
Then Jesus said to them, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."
And they were amazed at him.
The religious and political leaders seem to think themselves clever in laying question-traps to catch Jesus. But he consistently turns the tables by expressing his wisdom in inventive or even witty ways. What do you see as the points of both the question and the answer here?
One lesson of Jesus' reply is not to equate the power of the world's politics, which can be manipulative and often violent, with the peaceful, straightforward ways of God's kingdom. Are you tempted to combine these in your mind, or even to make Jesus' message subservient to worldly power? If so, examine your heart and mind to see where and how, and ask God to help you disconnect them.