working together for the future of faith
(1) Thom 100
/100:1/ They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, "The Roman emperor's people demand taxes from us." /2/ He said to them, "Give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, /3/ give God what belongs to God, /4/ and give me what is mine. [Complete Gospels]
(2) GEger 3a [50-57a]
/3:1/ They come to him and interrogate him as a way of putting him to the test. /2/ They ask, "Teacher, Jesus, we know that you are [from God], since the things you do put you above all the prophets. /3/ Tell us, then, is it permissible to pay to rulers what is due them? Should we pay them or not?" /4/ Jesus knew what they were up to, and became indignant. /5/ Then he said to them, "Why do you pay me lip service as a teacher, but not [do] what I say? /6/ How accurately Isaiah prophesied about you when he said, `This people honors me with their lips, but their heart stays far away from me; their worship of me is empty, [because they insist on teachings that are human] commandments [...]'" [Complete Gospels]
(3) Mark 12:13-17 = Matt 22:15-22 = Luke 20:20-26
/12:13/ Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. /14/ And they came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? /15/ Should we pay them, or should we not?" But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it." /16/ And they brought one. Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" They answered, "The emperor's." /17/ Jesus said to them, "Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were utterly amazed at him.
= Matt 22:15-22
/22:15/ Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. /16/ So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. /17/ Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?" /18/ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? /19/ Show me the coin used for the tax." And they brought him a denarius. /20/ Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" /21/ They answered, "The emperor's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." /22/ When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
= Luke 20:20-26
/20:20/ So they watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. /21/ So they asked him, "Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. /22/ Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?" /23/ But he perceived their craftiness and said to them, /24/ "Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?" They said, "The emperor's." /25/ He said to them, "Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." /26/ And they were not able in the presence of the people to trap him by what he said; and being amazed by his answer, they became silent.
RCL: Year A, Proper 24
ECUSA: Year A, 22 after Pentecost (Proper 24)
RC: Year A, 29 Sunday in Ordinary Time
>>> Sermon by John A. Moses for Australia's National Day of Mourning after Oct 12 bombings in Bali. [PDF file]
John Dominic Crossan
Stratum: I (30-60 CE)
Crossan comments as follows [Historical Jesus, 352]:
... like Jesus' own reaction [to opposition, hostility, and rejection] in 55 Caesar and God [1/3]. When the questioners sought to trap him between refusing or advocating submission to Caesar's taxation, he simply pointed to Caesar's head on the coin they held in their hands and answered with a phrase that can be as absolutely superficial or as absolutely profound as one wishes to make it.
Flusser [Jesus, 104f] comments:
Once again Jesus had succeeded in evading capture, while at the same time making his meaning unmistakably clear. One cannot serve two masters, God and mammon. Money comes from Caesar, and so it must be handed over to him. Quite certainly the saying did not express friendship toward the Romans, but it also showed that Jesus was no supporter of revolt against them. His ethical teaching made that impossible.
Color Thom 100:1-3
7 K, T 89Mk 50 45 5 0 0.82 Red Mark 12:17b 7 K, T 89Mk 50 45 5 0 0.82 Red Matt 22:21c 7 K, T 89Mk 50 45 5 0 0.82 Red Luke 20:25b 7 K, T 89Mk 50 45 5 0 0.82 Red Thom 100:4 7 K, T 90Cin 0 0 0 100 0.00 Black GEger 3a [50-57a] 7 K, T, EG 90Cin 0 0 0 100 0.00 Black Mark 12:15,16 7 K 90Cin 0 0 0 100 0.00 Black Matt 22:18,20 7 K, 90Cin 0 0 0 100 0.00 Black Luke 20:24 7 K 90Cin 0 0 0 100 0.00 Black
The Seminar treated the core saying differently from the narrative frameworks found in its various versions.
Only six other sayings scored a higher weighted average than this saying.
Samuel T. Lachs
Lachs [Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament, 358f] comments as follows:
The image of Caesar was a point of irritation to the Jews, especially when it threatened to invade the Temple precincts ... As to the emperor's image on the coin, this did not raise such violent objections on the part of Jews, although they most assuredly found both his image and the tax itself objectionable. Only the most scrupulously pious avoided looking on the images on coins. It is related that R. Nahum b. Simlai was known for his holiness because "he never looked upon the form of a coin."
Luedemann [Jesus, 83] comments as follows:
The saying of Jesus around which the conversation has been conceived seems to be genuine. It is stamped by an accentuation of the first commandment. ... The saying is authentic because it reflects the tendency in the proclamation of Jesus to accentuate the law (criterion of coherence). At the same time, the criterion of difference applies, because in this saying there is none of the teaching about Christ which characterized the time after the 'resurrection.'
Meier does not address the core saying in the first three volumes of A Marginal Jew although he refers to the pericope several times in discussions of sources and the historical opponents of Jesus.
Muslim Jesus Traditions
Tarif Khalidi [The Muslim Jesus] provides the following traditions:
/8/ Jesus said to his disciples, "Just as kings have left wisdom to you, so you should leave the world to them." [eighth century]
/131/ Jesus was asked about sincere counsel. He said, "If two matters arise before you, one of which concerns you and the other of which concerns God, begin with the matters that concerns God. [late ninth century]
/164/ Christ said, "O disciples, I have laid the world flat upon its belly for your sake and made you sit upon its back. Only two groups view with you for its mastery: kings and devils. As for the devils, seek support against them in patience and prayer. As for kings, leave their world to them and they will leave the other world to you." [eleventh century]
/181/ The disciples said to Jesus: "What do you say about rulers?" He answered: "They have been made into a temptation for you. Let not your love for them lead you into sinning against God, nor your hatred for them lead you out of God's obedience. If you fulfill your obligations towards them, you will escape their evil and your faith will be made whole. [eleventh century]
This poem originated as a contribution to the HODOS online community by Gene Stecher. It is published with Gene's consent but he explicitly retains full rights as the creative author. You welcome to use it for personal study and worship, but it should not be published in any other form without the author's prior consent. Index to Gene Stecher's poems
Lawyers and politicians are everywhere,
Silver tongued hypocrites running for office.
You sir, are the embodiment of integrity,
Does the law require taxes to be paid?
Now would that be Hebrew law or Roman law?
This Denarius has Caesar's head, right?
Everywhere you look and see Caesar's image,
return whatever it's stamped upon to him.
Everywhere you look and see God's image,
return whatever it's stamped upon to him.