Paying Taxes

Wednesday, Nov. 30                           

Having already rejected Jesus as their Messiah, the Pharisees and chief Priests got their heads together to find a way to get Him arrested by the Romans.  They came up with a very clever plan. Luke 20:19 ff.  They sent out some spies posing as sincere seekers of truth to find a way to get Him into trouble with the Roman government.  The Romans would take care, of Jesus.  They found what they thought was an iron clad case—whether or not to pay tribute to Caesar.  The Jews in captivity were normally taught by their leaders to pay taxes to their overlords, but recent events changed things a bit.  When Herod the Great died in 4 B.C. the Romans replaced him with his three sons, each one to rule a district of Israel.  Judea was ruled by Archelaus, but he was so ruthless that he was replaced.  By 6 A.D. Judea was a province ruled by a Roman prefect.  The Herods were Edomites, related to the Jews, and sympathetic to Jewish traditions.  Now a hated Roman was the ruler.  Intolerable!  Paying taxes took on new meaning.  This only applied to Judea.  The other two areas were still under a Herod.  And this special condition was tailor made to trap Jesus.  Jews in Judea, living in their own promised land, had to pay tribute to a pagan Roman.  The question, so ingenuously asked of Jesus:  “Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”  They had Him!  If he said “yes” the people would be turned away from Him.  If He said “no” they could report Him to the Romans and get Him charged with sedition.  But they forgot who they were dealing with.  I leave it to you to read the rest of the story.  It’s not easy to trap God.  Those conniving Jews didn’t have a chance!

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