Posted by Lou Giampaglia

In the gospel according to Mark chapter 12 verses 13-17 two groups of men, the Pharisees and the Herodians, came to Jesus to “trap” him with a question. They said, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?”  Although these two groups were normally enemies, having very different political views, they were willing to work together for the sake of trying to “trap” Jesus. The differences between the two groups had to do with the relationship between Israel and Rome. The Pharisees were religious conservatives, fundamentalists, and self-righteous moralists. They were vocally anti-Rome, despising the Roman oppression. They viewed Rome as a great intrusion with all of its paganism and its invasion of their theocracy. The Herodians, on the other hand, were supporters of the dynasty of Herod.  They were sympathizers to the Roman Empire and supporters of Roman imperialism.  They didn’t care about God’s laws and they were by and large more liberal, morally, theologically, and socially.

Rather then get caught up in their political “crossfire” Jesus answered their question with this remarkable answer,“Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”  And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness (Icon) and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.”  Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  Jesus acknowledges the government’s authority but also acknowledges that they are not the ultimate authority. Give Caesar his coin since it has his “likeness and inscription” on it but not your worship. As image bearers of God we are to render to Caesar what is in his image and give to God our very lives because we are created in the image of God.