Is it right for us to pay taxes to a government we don’t agree with or not? Is it right to support abortion if you don’t agree? Is it right to support people who refuse to work and provide medical insurance for everyone? I could go on and on. Is it right? Where does God say we should pay taxes anyway? What do you think?

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 20

Pay Taxes, Should We or Not? (Luke 20:19-26)

By Pastor Delbert Young

Pay Taxes, Should We or Not? (Luke 20:19-26)

Scriptures: John 11:45-53, Luke 20:20, Luke 20:21-22, Matthew 22:16-17, Luke 20:23, Luke 20:25, Romans 13:1-2, Luke 23:1-2, Luke 20:26

We are studying the Passion Week of Jesus Christ. A few weeks earlier Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The Bible says,

John 11:45-53 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a MEETING OF THE SANHEDRIN. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is THIS MAN PERFORMING MANY MIRACULOUS SIGNS. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then THE ROMANS WILL COME AND TAKE AWAY BOTH OUR PLACE AND OUR NATION.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (v53) So from that day on they PLOTTED TO TAKE HIS LIFE.

This was a high level plot including the entire Sanhedrin, the top Jewish governing level including the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians. Herodians were a political group who catered to the “Herods” who had political ties with Rome. Their priority was political matters. Jesus had become a political threat also. This plot would be similar to our national high levels plotting – Executive Branch; Legislative Branch; and Judicial Branch. Is Jesus a political problem today? What’s their plan?

It was now verified Jesus raised a man from the dead! It wasn’t a rumor. It wasn’t a myth. It was an undeniable miracle. They knew Jesus was Messiah, yet decided to take his life rather than have Rome smell an insurrection and put them under a military lockdown.

It was Wednesday of Passion Week. A few days prior, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding the donkey. The people cheered. The leaders sneered. Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luk 19:28-44). The next day Jesus assaulted the temple driving out the zoo animals and zoo keepers (Luk 19:45-48). Wednesday Jesus spent the day in the temple as masses of people came to the temple listening to his teachings and anxious to see how Jesus would take over. “All the people hung on his words” (Luke 19:48). The Jewish leaders hated Jesus and wanted him out of the temple. They came upon him asking by what authority he did the things he was doing. It was a confrontation. Jesus ended by telling the people a parable of “The Wicked Tenants” explaining how, in vengeance, God would kill them and give the kingdom of God to others (Luk 20:1-18). They wanted Jesus dead and they would accomplish this quickly. The only reason they could not kill him immediately was the people (Luk 20:19). However, brilliantly, in two days they would turn the people who today hung on his words into a murderous mob screaming “Crucify him!” How long do you think it will take our national leaders to turn us, our children, and our nation? But for now it’s Wednesday. They hung on his words and the national leaders came again on attack.

Luke 20:20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.

We are told their plot. It was to catch Jesus in something he said, arrest him, and take him to Pilatethe governor. Under Roman law they could not execute anyone. Execution must be done through Rome’s legal system. The plan was to get Jesus to say something against Rome. A person with a following such as Jesus who said anything against Rome would be executed immediately as an insurrectionist. Rome tolerated no one. This was their objective, but how will they do it? What was the plan/plot?

Luke 20:21-22 So the spies questioned him: “TEACHER, we know that you SPEAK AND TEACH what isRIGHT, and that you do not show PARTIALITY but teach the WAY OF GOD in accordance with theTRUTH. IS IT RIGHT FOR US TO PAY TAXES TO CAESAR OR NOT?”

Matthew 22:16-17 They sent their disciples to him along with the HERODIANS… Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

The spies were Herodians who, with the crowd present as witnesses, posed their question. They flattered Jesus as a great teacher speaking truth by not showing partiality and knowledgeable of what God’s word says. What does God say about paying taxes to Caesar? Is it right or not?

Rome, like America, taxed everything. What do you think? Is it right for us to pay taxes to a government we don’t agree with or not? Is it right to support abortion if you don’t agree? Is it right to support people who refuse to work and provide medical insurance for everyone? I could go on and on. Is it right? The KJV says “Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?” meaning is paying taxes to an oppressive pagan government good with God? Where does God say we should pay taxes anyway? What do you think?

It’s a brilliant question and would accomplish their objective. They felt this question had Jesus in the proverbial position of being between a rock and a hard place. They felt they painted Jesus into a corner. Anyone who came against Rome concerning taxes was arrested and executed. But, certainly Jesus would not say in the hearing of the crowd it was right to support pagan Rome and its dictator Caesar. Popular opinion said the Messiah would hate Rome. The people did. The Messiah would come and overthrow Rome, not support Rome. Everyone listening would answer, “No!” to their question. “We should not give money to a gentile, occupying, and oppressive, pagan, idolatrous power. God himself would not want his people to pay taxes to pagan Rome. It’s treason against God.” They had him. All they needed was for Jesus to answer. It was brilliant!

Luke 20:23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?”

But Jesus saw through their duplicitypanourgia {pan-oorg-ee’-ah} – craftiness, cunning. Do you think Jesus knows our duplicity?

“Show me a denarius.” A denarius was a day’s wage. It was a coin used for hundreds of years and minted by Rome and stamped with the image of the emperor at the time. They gave him a denarius. Evidently one of those posing the question handed Jesus one showing off his wealth.Jesus asked,“Whose portrait and inscription are on it?” The word for portrait is eikon {i-kone’} – an image of the things. We get our word icon. The entire crowd knew the answer to this. The answer: “Caesar’s.”Likely at this point they felt he was about to blast Caesar for making himself a little idol by placing his image on the coinage. (We do desire those Ben Franklins.)

Luke 20:25 “Caesar’s,” they replied. He said to them, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

What carries the eikon – icon – image of God? Man, right (Gen 1:26-27)? We are made in his image and likeness. Jesus’ answer is profound. Did Jesus mean we should pay our taxes? It means way more than that, but yes it does mean we should pay taxes. I know we don’t like to think about it this way, but the government, or nation, owns everything. We know God ultimately owns and controls everything (Psa 24:1), but in the natural the government owns it. This is why they can receive taxes. Everything you think you own is Caesar’s like it or not. I’ll explain. If you refuse to pay taxes on “your” house or property, what can the government do? Take it, right? So, like it or not this is how it is. In war times when one nation conquered another, the conquering nation took ownership and control of everything. Earthly things remain here. What you think you own and pay taxes on will stay here after you’re gone and someone will always pay taxes on it. No matter if the Jews liked it or not, God put Israel providentially under the rule of Caesar. Caesar, the earthly government, owned the land of Israel and everything in it. The apostle Paul, a Jew, explained this in Romans 13.

Romans 13:1-2 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has ESTABLISHED. The authorities that exist have been ESTABLISHED BY GOD. Consequently, HE WHO REBELS AGAINST THE AUTHORITY IS REBELLING AGAINST WHAT GOD HAS INSTITUTED, and those who do so WILL BRING JUDGMENT ON THEMSELVES.

If you refuse to pay your taxes there are consequences and you will bring judgment upon yourself. Why was Israel under Roman rule anyway? They rebelled against God, so God establishedgoverning authorities over them. Why do we experience things we experience concerning our government? We, as a nation, have rebelled and are rebelling against God. Do you think we can look for more oppression from Caesar if we don’t turn back to God? So, what are we to do if we can’t rebel against Caesar? Turn back to God and he will establish the governing authorities.

Jesus said this concerning a government he knew in two days would execute him in the most cruel and inhuman way. Still Jesus ordained the role of government. The only time we find different is when the two intersect. If government told me I could no longer worship God or preach Jesus Christ then I must do what they did in Acts chapter 4. Peter and John would not stop preaching Jesus.

Acts 4:18-20 Then they called them in AGAIN and COMMANDED THEM not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

It’s “Do with me what you will, but I will never terminate my worship of Jesus Christ and preaching his name.”

Jesus said there are two realms: earthly and heavenly. Which do you think people fear, understand, and obey more? We’ll give to Caesar what is Caesar’s to keep from being arrested losing our property, and avoid penalties, but not give God what is God’s though it costs our souls. What does God want you to give him? He wants your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deu 6:5; Luk 10:27). He wants you.

Jesus said give Caesar what is Caesar’s and give God what is God’s. I want to show you this while here. We’ll get to this passage one day.

Luke 23:1-2 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.”

This was a total lie. The execution of Jesus was based upon totally fabricated lies by their leaders. The crowd would scream for the blood of Jesus and embrace lying national leaders and deceitful spiritual guides. Here’s what really happened.

Luke 20:26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said THERE IN PUBLIC. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

They understood his answer. There was no further discussion or, “Yes, but…” It was simply silence. They were embarrassed there in public and would get revenge by lying.

So, is it right to pay taxes or not? It’s right, but it’s so much bigger than taxes. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give to God what is God’s. How are you doing? Have you been holding back on God? Have you given him your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength? Are you teaching your children and grandchildren to do this? Are we turning our nation? I really believe so many of you have and are doing this. You’ve given to Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s. You will be blessed in the natural and in the spiritual.

Other Related Sermons:

Easter Blood Sacrifice – sermon video audio notes

The Resurrection Proofed – Easter sermon video audio notes

Easter Nonsense – sermon video audio notes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_of_Galilee