Whose Image Do You Bear?
Read Matthew 22:15-22
The Pharisees and the Herodians (supporters of the Herod family) made strange bedfellows, but they had a common enemy in Jesus. They came to him with a question designed to arouse opposition no matter how he answered. If he agreed that Jews should pay the hated poll tax, the many people with Jewish nationalist sympathies (the majority) would take offense. If he came out against paying the poll tax, the Roman authorities would have reason to arrest Jesus as a revolutionary.
But Jesus’ answer confounds them. The fact that they used Roman money proved that they owed something to Caesar, even for government that they would have just as soon done without. Caesar’s image on the coin showed that it ultimately belonged to him. But Jesus also affirmed giving to God what ultimately belongs to him. Those who are made in God’s image owe him their very selves. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar, and to God the things that are God’s” (22:21).