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Showing posts from November 15, 2012

Economics, Currency, and Caesar

November 15: Economics, Currency, and Caesar
Mark 12:1–34

Jesus’ command to pay taxes is one of the trickier passages in the NT. The actual line isn’t tricky—“Give to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to God the things of God” (Mark 12:17)—but its origins and Jesus’ exact reasoning aren't as clear.
People have taken this passage to suggest that Jesus was in favor of government or taxes. But this interpretation misses the point. We’re meant to learn from Jesus here, not take away some regulation. Certainly Jesus condones paying taxes and charity work, but those points touch only on the basics of His statement.
First, Jesus is annoyed. The Pharisees and Herodians are testing Him with this question, and He doesn't approve. His reaction suggests that simply taking away a “law” here would sadden Him, for that’s all the Pharisees and Herodians cared about (Mark 12:15). The “law” would address only the political question.
Jesus goes on to ask for a denarius, signaling that He doesn't…