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Mark 12: 13-17 – Week 9 Ordinary Time, Tuesday (Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)

13 ¶ And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not?
15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.
16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Cæsar’s.
17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

In today’s Bible verses, the confrontation continues between Jesus and the Jewish authorities, who now send Pharisees and Herodians, themselves mutually hostile, to seek to provoke and condemn Jesus.

The Jews try to set a trap for Jesus, and in so doing they demonstrate both their malice and hypocrisy and also their real failure to acknowledge what should be their true relationship with God.

Under Roman rule, the people were heavily taxed, and this was greatly resented. It seems, then, that the Pharisees and the Herodians are setting Jesus an impossible question. On the one hand, if he says that the people should pay taxes to Caesar, this could turn the people against him. On the other hand, if Jesus says that they should not pay their taxes, then his enemies can accuse him to the Roman authorities.

In response, Jesus asks his questioners to see the self-evident. He points to the great distinction between Caesar’s coin and our proper relationship with God. We are called to understand how our sense of that distinction can become confused and corrupted, just as the secular, and financial, interests of the Jewish authorities have perverted their proper role and led to their preventing the people from being in proper relationship with God.

Yes, we’re to pay our taxes. We live in society. ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ And we must give our whole being to God.

‘Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day. Romans 13: 11-13

Audio Bible KJV | Endnotes

Taxation Of Nazareth At The Time Of Jesus

At the time of Jesus, Nazareth did not suffer Roman taxation or use Roman coinage. Nazareth was a predominantly Jewish community and it was remote. Some Jewish communities were granted exemptions from Roman taxation and other forms of Roman control.

During the Roman occupation of Palestine, Jewish communities were allowed to govern themselves according to their own religious and cultural traditions, without interference from Roman authorities. This meant that Jewish communities were able to maintain their own legal and judicial systems, as well as their own cultural and religious practices.

Jewish communities were still required to pay certain taxes to the Roman authorities, such as customs duties on imported goods. Nazareth is not mentioned in any Roman historical or tax documents.

This is kind of the point of Jesus being born there – it was nowhere.

We can be confident in Jesus of Nazareth. It was a no-place! (What a place for God to be born!)

Nazareth at the time of Jesus was not on the map. Literally.