Gospels in Harmony – Is it Lawful to Give Tribute to Caesar?

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Gospels In Harmony – Is it Lawful to Give Tribute To Caesar?

Mat 22:15-22, Mar 12:13-17, Luk 20:19-26

[Study Aired June 29, 2021]

In our last few studies Christ spoke in parables to the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees. These parables, as we saw, accused them of wrong doings and showed them their standing in the kingdom of God. As we know these parables are for us to understand what is happening within each of our heavens. Here are the verses for tonight’s study.

Luk 20:19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken these parables against them.
Luk 20:20a And they watched him,
Mat 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
Luk 20:20b They sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, 
Mar 12:13a And they sent unto him certain of the Pharisees, 
Mat 22:16a their disciples, 
Mar 12:13b and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words, 
Luk 20:20c that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
Luk 20:21 And they asked him 
Mat 22:16b saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men,
Mar 12:14b but teachest the way of God in truth: 
Mat 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
Mar 12:15a Shall we give, or shall we not give? 
Mar 12:15b But he, knowing their hypocrisy,
Luk 20:23a he perceived their craftiness,
Mat 22:18 and Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
Mat 22:19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
Mat 22:20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
Mat 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
Mat 22:22a When they had heard these words, they marvelled,
Luk 20:26 And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and held their peace.
Mat 22:22b and left him, and went their way.

Our first verses under review tell us something about what is happening today within the body of Christ. In the body of Christ there are those that are sent among us to do the following (This is happening within and without at the same time):

Luk 20:19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken these parables against them.
Luk 20:20a And they watched him, 
Mat 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
Luk 20:20b They sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men,
Mar 12:13a And they sent unto him certain of the Pharisees,
Mat 22:16a their disciples,
Mar 12:13b and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words,

Christ is warning us to be aware of those sent forth as spies presenting themselves as just men. He is working this for our benefit to train us to be faithful until the end. The Pharisees of today send their disciples trying to entangle us in our talk. Therefore the body of Christ must be diligent to be of the same mind. We are told that we will be delivered up to those with power and authority of this world. It is all for the purpose of killing our old man within. The Pharisees of today are the doctrines of the world. These doctrines act as wolves trying to divide the flock of God.

Eze 22:23-27 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Mat 10:16-18 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

Act 20:29-30 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

All this is done so that we will be delivered up to the power and authority of the “governor”. Our next verses give us an idea of how these Pharisees try to “entangle us in our words”.

Luk 20:20b They sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, 
Mar 12:13a And they sent unto him certain of the Pharisees, 
Mat 22:16a their disciples, 
Mar 12:13b and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words, 
Luk 20:20c that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
Luk 20:21 And they asked him 
Mat 22:16b saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men,
Mar 12:14b but teachest the way of God in truth: 

These men within and without speak to us trying to appeal to our trust in the truth. They then ask us to explain our beliefs about matters of this world seeing if we are in agreement with their doctrines.

Mat 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
Mar 12:15a Shall we give, or shall we not give? 

Giving tribute to Caesar is today’s equivalent of paying taxes to the government. It is the spiritual type and shadow of our interactions with the world, as we will see later in the study. Continuing with our scriptures, Christ responds to their question.

Mar 12:15b But he, knowing their hypocrisy,
Luk 20:23a he perceived their craftiness,
Mat 22:18 and Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said,
Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Christ recognizes their hypocrisy. We must remember, as our last study pointed out, that these people the Lord sends to us appear to be our “friends” and are being used to try us to show us where we are in our process of entering into the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 22:11-13 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

We are to try the spirits of everyone that asks us a question. This is part of the trial of our faith. We are shown by these experiences where our strengths and weaknesses are.

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the   spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

As we are exercised, we grow and are strengthened.

Heb 5:11-14 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Christ continues his answer.

Mat 22:19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
Mat 22:20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
Mat 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Paul gives us the explanation of Christ’s words “Render therefore unto the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Rom 13:1-7 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Our old man does not always want to comply with what Christ and Paul is telling us we must do. If we are not careful, the ways of the world may overcome us, and the will from time to time be overcome because this is how the Lord strengthens us. This exercise gives us the ability to shut the mouths of our “friends”.

Mat 22:22a When they had heard these words, they marvelled,
Luk 20:26 And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and held their peace.
Mat 22:22b and left him, and went their way.

We will be given the ability to overcome the false doctrines of the world by seeking the mind of Christ. We will fall from time to time but as we grow in knowledge and truth we will be able to do the following.

Rom 12:9-21 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

We will be hated by the world, but as we know, this is to give us the ability to receive the crown of life.

Joh 15:18-27 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Luk 12:11-12 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Jas 1:2-12 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Rev 2:8-11 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

We do give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s so that we can give unto God what is God’s.

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