Jesus on Taxes

15 Apr

ImageBelieve it or not, paying taxes was a major issue in the first century just as it is today. Caesar was their king and the taxes were paid to him. Along came the rabbi Jesus who spoke of ultimate allegiance to God. So in that context the question you are about to read makes sense.

Well, that and the fact that the religious leaders were trying to trap Jesus in his words and actions. “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, 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 taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” (Mark 12:14-15)

The question is manipulative and the people are a bit sappy but the subject of taxes is one that we still deal with. Others were not so brave as to speak to Jesus directly. For example, “…the tax men came to Peter and asked, “Does your teacher pay taxes?” Peter said, “Of course.” (Mt 17:24–25).

In both cases Jesus showed consistency. Actually his answer is rather simple: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Mt 22:17, 21) Good advice from our heavenly King. Give your taxes to the government and your life to God.

Why do we pay taxes now? “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:2-7) Do I think that government has gotten too large? Yes. Do I think that we are headed the wrong direction as a nation? Yes, I do.  Do I have strong convictions about how we might do some things better? Yes.

Having said that, I love living in America. I enjoy the benefits of freedom that we still have. I have a strong allegiance to the United States of America and am speechless in how to best express my gratitude for those who have shed their blood and given their life for my freedom. Yet, my ultimate allegiance is in God who created everything. I hope for things to turn around in America – though I believe that the public will not stand for such great pain and struggle. Yet my ultimate hope is Jesus Christ and his resurrection. I plan to follow him in resurrection.

Back to Jesus convictions about paying taxes. You may not have realized that one of the false accusations brought against Jesus was that he opposed paying taxes to Caesar. “Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.” (Luke 23:1-2) It was a lie. But it helped to stoke the fire of public opinion against King Jesus. But he was proven right in the end. And in the end every knee, including those that falsely accused him, will bow their knee and declare him to be Lord. Period. That is good stuff.

To sum up a biblical view of paying taxes:

First, if you owe taxes, then pay taxes. (Romans 13:7)

Second, do all things without grumbling or disputing.” (Philippians 2:14) Sorry

Third, be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) You figure out how to be thankful as you pay taxes.

Enjoy today. Really!

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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized


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