Then there is a completely separate set of obligations we owe to God perhaps the obligation to tithe or to pray. It invites us to divide our lives into two portions, one governed by God, and the other by the state, with no interaction between the two. Could Jesus have been a man before his time, advocating a secular agenda more than a millennium and a half before these ideas took root in Western societies?
Might Jesus actually approve of the marginalisation of religion we see in so many contemporary societies? Surely, something is amiss. It behoves us to examine carefully the passage in which this saying is contained to see if its context sheds any light on how it should be interpreted. We will focus on the description of this episode in the Gospel of Mark This immediate context of our passage is a trap set by the Jewish religious authorities. These emissaries began with flattery. This question was designed to put Jesus in a deadly bind. The Romans were very sensitive about their system of taxation, and any potential disruption to it was likely to draw a swift and firm response.
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This is where the Herodians come in. They were a political faction of Jews seen as loyal to Rome. They would be best placed to report any subversive behaviour to the Romans. If, on the other hand, Jesus were to affirm the correctness of paying taxes to Caesar, many of his followers would have abandoned him in deep disappointment. Many Jews had an intense hatred of the Roman tax. How do you think these Jews would have felt if Jesus were to encourage meek submission to the oppressive Roman tax system? Rating details. All Languages. More filters.
Sort order. Aileen marked it as to-read Sep 01, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Ralph Reed. Ralph Reed. Books by Ralph Reed. Trivia About Render to God and No trivia or quizzes yet. Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. A similar episode occurs in the Gospel of Thomas verse , but there the coin in question is gold. Importantly, in this non-canon gospel, Jesus adds, "and give me what is mine.
“Render to God the Things That are God’s”
The taxes imposed on Judaea by Rome had led to riots. The tax denoted in the text was a specific tax… It was a poll tax , a tax instituted in A. A census taken at that time cf. Judas of Galilee led a revolt Acts , which was suppressed only with some difficulty. Many scholars date the origin of the Zealot party and movement to this incident. The Jewish Encyclopedia says of the Zealots :. When, in the year 5, Judas of Gamala in Galilee started his organized opposition to Rome, he was joined by one of the leaders of the Pharisees, R.
Zadok , a disciple of Shammai and one of the fiery patriots and popular heroes who lived to witness the tragic end of Jerusalem … The taking of the census by Quirinus, the Roman procurator , for the purpose of taxation was regarded as a sign of Roman enslavement; and the Zealots' call for stubborn resistance to the oppressor was responded to enthusiastically. Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate.
The passage has been much discussed in the modern context of Christianity and politics , especially on the questions of separation of church and state and tax resistance. When Jesus later was crucified, he was in a sense rendering unto Caesar the body that belonged to Caesar's human, earthly realm, while devoting his soul to God.
Augustine of Hippo suggested this interpretation in his Confessions , where he writes. He himself, the only-begotten, was created to be wisdom and justice and holiness for us, and he was counted among us, and he paid the reckoning, the tribute to Caesar. Jesus responds to Pontius Pilate about the nature of his kingdom: "My kingdom is not of this world.
If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But now or 'as it is' my kingdom is not from the world" John ; i. This reflects a traditional division in Christian thought by which state and church have separate spheres of influence. Tertullian , in De Idololatria , interprets Jesus as saying to render "the image of Caesar, which is on the coin, to Caesar, and the image of God, which is on man, to God; so as to render to Caesar indeed money, to God yourself.
Otherwise, what will be God's, if all things are Caesar's? Clark writes, "It is a doctrine of both Mosaic and Christian law that governments are divinely ordained and derive their powers from God.
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In the Old Testament it is asserted that "Power belongs unto God," Ps that God "removes kings and sets up kings," Dan and that "The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He will" Dan Similarly, in the New Testament, it is stated that " Rushdoony expands, "In early America, there was no question, whatever the form of civil government, that all legitimate authority is derived from God Under a biblical doctrine of authority, because "the powers that be are ordained of God Rom , all authority, whether in the home, school, state, church, or any other sphere, is subordinate authority and is under God and subject to His word.
Although civil obedience is commanded, it is equally apparent that the prior requirement of obedience to God must prevail. Some read the phrase "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" as unambiguous at least to the extent that it commands people to respect state authority and to pay the taxes it demands of them. Paul the Apostle also states in Romans 13 that Christians are obliged to obey all earthly authorities, stating that as they were introduced by God, disobedience to them equates to disobedience to God.
In this interpretation, Jesus asked his interrogators to produce a coin in order to demonstrate to them that by using his coinage they had already admitted the de facto rule of the emperor, and that therefore they should submit to that rule. We are against war and do not wish to aid the war effort by conscription or by paying war taxes to the government.
Doing so only helps to strengthen and perpetuate the war machine. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God. It is the law!
Render to God: New Testament Understandings of the Divine
We should however, work and pray extremely hard to change the law. The ideal situation would be to have the law abolished. The alternative would be to have a choice of designating our portion of the war tax towards efforts of peacemaking. This route would be a more lawful, constructive, and positive effort.
Some see the parable as being Jesus' message to people that if they enjoy the advantages of a state such as Caesar's, as distinct from God's authority for instance, by using its legal tender , they can't subsequently choose to ignore the laws of such a state. Henry David Thoreau writes in Civil Disobedience :. Christ answered the Herodians according to their condition. Mennonite Dale Glass-Hess wrote:.
Render unto God
It is inconceivable to me that Jesus would teach that some spheres of human activity lie outside the authority of God. Are we to heed Caesar when he says to go to war or support war-making when Jesus says in other places that we shall not kill? My perception of this incident is that Jesus does not answer the question about the morality of paying taxes to Caesar, but that he throws it back on the people to decide.
When the Jews produce a denarius at Jesus' request, they demonstrate that they are already doing business with Caesar on Caesar's terms. Then you better pay it off. Likewise for us: we may refuse to serve Caesar as soldiers and even try to resist paying for Caesar's army.
But the fact is that by our lifestyles we've run up a debt with Caesar, who has felt constrained to defend the interests that support our lifestyles. Now he wants paid back, and it's a little late to say that we don't owe anything.
Render to God What is God's - ZENIT - English
We've already compromised ourselves. If we're going to play Caesar's games, then we should expect to have to pay for the pleasure of their enjoyment. But if we are determined to avoid those games, then we should be able to avoid paying for them. Mohandas K. Gandhi shared this perspective.