Matthew 22:15-22 (Tribute to Caesar 7: Rendering to God)

In addition to answering their question about whether or not it was lawful to pay the poll tax to Caesar, commanding that one render to Caesar the things that bear his stamp of ownership and rightfully belong to him, what even greater tribute did Jesus remind those who were trying to trap Him that they needed to render?  See Mat 22:21.  Besides delivering Himself from their snare in regard to paying taxes to Caesar because they had neglected an important principle of God’s law that applies even to the unrighteous, how did Jesus’ answer also catch them in their own trap (Psa 9:15, 57:6, 141:9-10)?  Think: were they rendering unto God the things that were God’s?  See Mat 21:34-39.  As noted in a previous study, what is stamped with God’s image and inscription indicating His ownership that we are to render unto Him?  See Gen 1:26-27, 5:1; cf. Rev 22:4.  How did this especially apply to the Jewish religious leaders who were confronting Jesus who believed themselves to be God’s chosen people?  See Deut 4:20, 7:6, 14:2.  What in particular did it mean under the Mosaic covenant to belong to God?  I.e., in what manner would one render himself to God as God’s own possession?  See Exo 19:5-6, Deut 26:17-18.  Is it any different under the New Covenant established by Christ?  See 1Co 6:19-20, Tit 2:14, 1Pe 2:9-11.  As God’s own possession, were those who were seeking to ensnare Jesus submitting themselves to the rule and authority of God’s kingdom over their lives?  See Mat 21:28-32, 22:2,5-6.  Even in their current actions were they being truthful from their hearts as God requires of His people (Psa 15:2, 51:6)?  See Mat 22:15,18; cf. Luk 11:39.

As we understand rendering to Caesar in terms of our need to pay taxes to the government for the services it provides, what is one way the people of God have always understood how they are to render to God for all that He provides?  See Gen 14:18-20, Lev 27:30, Num18:21,26,28, Deut 26:1-12.  Had the Pharisees and religious leaders who were confronting Jesus failed to render unto God in this manner?  Cf. Luk 18:12.  Again, in what manner were they failing to render unto God the things that are God’s?  See Mat 23:23.  What does this verse remind us about the importance of external righteousness, and the even greater importance of internal righteousness?  Cf. Mat 5:20.

Consider again Jesus’ answer of rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s; from His statement, does God ever expect from men what rightly belongs to those who rule by His authority?  Cf. Rom 13:1-7.  Does this principle apply only to government entities?  See Eph 6:5-8, Col 3:22-25.  What does this teach us not only about a Christian’s responsibility to a non-Christian government, but also a Christian employee’s responsibility to a non-Christian employer?

Although God who is perfect never expects from men what rightly belongs to those who rule by His authority, what things have rulers, being imperfect, not infrequently expected from men that rightly belong to God?  What examples do we find in Scripture contrasting the difference between things we render to Caesar and things we render to God?  See Dan 3:14-18, 6:6-10,20-23, Act 4:18-20, 5:28-29.

In the present context of Jewish animosity toward Roman rule, was it the case that the Romans were demanding of the Jews what rightfully belonged to God?  Recall that unlike other peoples under the umbrella of Roman rule, the Jews enjoyed religio licita status in the empire due to services rendered unto Julius Caesar by Hyrcanus the son of Alexander, the high priest and governor of the Jews, c. 50 B.C. (Josephus, Antiquities, 14:189-212).  This status granted the Jews the right to practice their religion freely in the empire—a right not granted to others, notably Christians after the Christian faith spread to the Gentiles and they could no longer be viewed as a sect of Jews.  Consider then the pointed significance of Jesus’ reply to the Jews who were trying to trap Him, who themselves bristled at paying the poll tax to Caesar: were they in their hearts rendering to Caesar the things that were Caesar’s, or to God the things that were God’s?  What does this help us understand about their culpability in the day of judgment, and the irony of them seeking to ensnare Jesus in regard to the very thing of which they themselves were guilty?  See again Psa 9:15, 57:6, 141:9-10.

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