Render Unto Caesar
Scripture: Mark 12:13-17
In this video of Jesus Christ, we learn about how the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus and how He responded with an masterful answer. The Pharisees were continually trying to trick Jesus and catch Him in His words, so that they could have something with which to condemn Him. I can only imagine how long they spent trying to come up with tricky questions that, they hoped, would help prove His downfall.
Here is the question they came up with: “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” (Mark 12:14). They knew that if He said it was lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, he would turn public sentiment against himself, because the Jews despised the Roman rule and taxes levied against them. However, if Jesus said it was not lawful to give tribute to Caesar, the Pharisees knew that they could convict Him of going against the Romans who ruled over them. The Pharisees thought they had Him this time. It seemed like such a great question (and probably took hours or days for them to come up with it). Jesus’ answer was masterful. He said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). When He said that, the Pharisees marvelled at his wisdom.
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What Can we Learn from Rendering Unto Caesar and Unto God?
Not only was this an adept answer that silenced the Pharisees, it was also an important life lesson. Jesus was saying that we are under an obligation as citizens of a country to follow the laws of that country and pay taxes as required. He was also teaching us about the importance of giving to God in the form of tithing, offerings and alms to the poor. In Malachi 3:8-11, the prophet said, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” Later, Jesus repeated the same verse to the ancient inhabitants of the Americas found in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 24:8). When we give tithes and offerings to God, we are blessed.
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