87 Trust to God

Luke 20:20-26
Psalms 68:32-35
Ⅰ Tax to Caesar

The text of this morning (20:20-26) also seems to have been the event of Monday. Sanhedrin lawmakers who lost face with authority problem of Jesus (20 1-8); they do not allow anymore to come out in front of Jesus openly. However, they sought the opportunity to try to capture Jesus, and "they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so as to deliver Him up to the rule and the authority of the governor." (20), and had begun to act it secretly. They wanted to draw Him into the controversy by taking the faultfinding; and probably, they would have wanted to put a label to Jesus as antisocial person. By doing so, they would have expected that Roman governor, Pilate, kills Jesus.

So, let's take a look at the trap of their words that were prepared expertly. At first, they began the praise to Jesus; "Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth." (21). "Teacher, your message of this morning was so amazing"; this is a trap to the preacher that haunts constantly, even today; but, the message from the pulpit is the Word of God. We must listen it with our whole heart, don't you think so? They who sent a tribute to Jesus seemed the people who heard the message of Jesus many times before; but they sent a praise that causes the loosening of teeth still, after they heard; isn't it equal to that they did not hear the word of God at all?

"Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" (22) They took up the issue of tax payment that weigh heavily to Jews. In addition to the tax (municipal tax) to a statesmen, and the religious tax, such as the temple tax or tithe tax, the Jews have suffered for a number of tax for a long time. And, it is the tax to Rome. The (Herodians and Pharisees) thought that "If You (Jesus) think about the people who suffer a heavy tax, Your answer should be clear naturally", according to Matthew. Pharisees are always avid religionists known for strict legalism, and they are tuned to extreme stance of the Zealot saying "Gentiles take taxes from the elect of God; it is presumptuous, fundamentally."; however they are trying to fulfill its obligation unwillingly. On the other hand, Herodians were the people who were indifferent to the Jewish religion at all, but have wanted to return the hands of the clock to the days of the Great Herod was flourished. They thought "but, it is necessary to obtain the favor of Rome", so they were actively to the tax. Such completely opposite people came to Jesus together.

Ⅱ The shadow of the cross

Why did they come together with Herodians? Even if Jesus answered how, it was not for preparing for it; but probably it was to bring out the extreme answer from Jesus. If you look from the Pharisees and Sanhedrin lawmakers, Herodians was only the presence of the other hand teachers who stirs up religious mind of the Jews. They had supposed only tax refusal to Rome in the answer of Jesus. Would this be because He took in it? In the article of Luke, the Pharisees and Herodians did not come out. But it is just there, "And they sent spies who pretended to be righteous,". Were they going to shut Jesus in the camp of Zealots which want to keep that they are the chosen people of God by all means? For that reason, they said that Jesus was the rabbi and teacher of the best and His teachings come true in the way of God truly; and they blocked choice and escape way, by sending a tribute not in their mind. Zealots was an extremist ethnic movement which was spread out around the Galilee, it was also the birthplace of Jesus; it was an extreme ethnic movement to break away from Gentile domination by taking the sword. If Jesus refuses to the tax to Rome, then Rome will decide collection compulsory. Because a lot of people here is the witness. Maybe, Jesus might also resist by the sword, ... They had expected to become so.

However, Jesus saw their wiles keenly, and said. "'Show Me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?' 'Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.'" (23-25)

Ⅲ Trust to God

Even if they pretend deeply devout, Jesus knows that they are far away from God. In the trap of words that they thought a perfect, but, big problems were seen. They talked about "God" only in the praise of Jesus, but their essential question was the only political issue; and eventually, they did not mention to God at all. The phrase "Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"; it is saying the social circumstances of the taxpayer that even a Pharisee was forced at that time. It is never asking norms of the words of God in any way. Jesus pointed out that. "To Caesar the things that are Caesar's" and "to God the things that are to God's"; we should not view these two things as arranged in the same specific gravity. He told about God that is lacking in them, and it was a center. It was the attitude of Jesus which was done also clearly in Hanukkah (19 45-46). Their acts that are carried out in the name of God, but, is it not a cover which obscures the desire of their own? Yes, they are full of whopping hypocrisy! Stand before God in earnest; now, Jesus would have given a chance to them again, I think.

Denali silver coin was the currency of Rome, but portraits of emperors had drawn there. Emperor of that time was Augustus, but he is the emperor who gave his life in the Pax Romana; many tax that he did was for it. Because its measures seemed to be delicate enough to extend to every corner of the empire, Palestine was far away from Rome, but needless to say Palestine would had participate in its benefit. While they were paying taxes, but they hated it. It would not be a sincere attitude to the Emperor in any way. Even if they pay it, or they do not pay it, they had to learn that it was important to face faithfully. It is also the same for our modern. If we stand before God in earnest, it will also leads to good faith for the rulers of the time. At that time, a number of small rebellion had been occurred repeatedly. They were things by Zealot mainly, but it became soon a swell of large revolt. And it became serious consequences to lose a country, but it was not the reason that they were defeated in the battle with Rome; we must say it is because they lost attitude to stand in front of God more than anything. These two questions must be heard as one question. It is the same thing in this present age.

Then, after several decades, the people of the early church rebelled against the orders of Rome of emperor worship, and they were labeled as traitors, and had martyred; will it be that they had heard this word of Jesus from their experience? They did not have relations with the revolt of Zealot even once, but they just had wanted to be a faithful believer before God. It is a real duty of the believer, and it was the thing that Pharisees and the scribes must listen. Because they were proud that they were also religious person, they understood anything what Jesus was going to say. But, they just did not try to find it. "And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people; and marveling at His answer, they became silent." (26); it was the manifestation of bigotry of them against God saying that "we never want to hear it,". And it comes overlap also to us today. In the present age complaints are full, we must know that its cause is in ourselves who have abandoned faith in God; but it is not in other people and policy makers.