Read­ing Time: 3 minutes



Are God and the gov­ern­ment in oppos­i­tion? The Jew­ish author­it­ies were determ­ined to elim­in­ate Jesus. Since their oth­er attempts failed, they have now resor­ted to set­ting traps for him. They wanted Jesus to be the cause of his own down­fall and con­dem­na­tion. The Hero­di­ans were polit­ic­al groups. The Phar­isees send­ing them and their own dis­ciples to Jesus was an attempt to get Jesus entrapped in polit­ic­al mat­ters. At the con­clu­sion of the par­able of the king who organ­ized a wed­ding ban­quet for his son (Matt 22:1–14), Jesus says, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14). Mat­thew con­tin­ues his nar­ra­tion and notes that “the Phar­isees went and plot­ted to entrap Jesus in what he said” (Matt 22:15). What did Jesus say? Jesus has said so many things in and through his inter­est­ing par­ables. Without doubt, the Jew­ish author­ity knew those par­ables referred to them.

Unmasking the enemy

The way the Phar­isees and the Hero­di­ans put their ques­tion to Jesus shows vari­ous ways one could employ to con­fuse and con­vince his or her oppon­ent and make the per­son say or affirm what he or she, in nor­mal cir­cum­stances, would not have said or affirmed. The rein­force­ment of the ques­tion “should we give or pay the tax or should we not?” ‘indic­ates that this is no mere the­or­et­ic­al inquiry but a press­ing prac­tic­al issue’ that requires an imme­di­ate answer. Had Jesus not dis­covered the trick of his inter­locutors, then he would have involved him­self in a polit­ic­al tussle that does not con­cern him. The plan of the Phar­isees and the Hero­di­ans was to get Jesus into trouble either with the Jew­ish people or with the Roman author­ity. That is, if he had answered “yes, taxes should be paid to Caesar”, then he would have lost favour and cred­ib­il­ity with the tax-burdened people. On the oth­er hand, if he had answered “It was wrong for the Jew­ish people to pay taxes to the Roman gov­ern­ment”, then he would have been accused of insur­rec­tion. The ques­tion was for­mu­lated in such a way that answer­ing ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would have landed Jesus in ser­i­ous trouble. This is exactly what the Jew­ish author­ity expec­ted. They knew it was wrong to answer yes or no, yet they wanted Jesus to implic­ate him­self. Unfor­tu­nately for them, Jesus unmasked their evil plan. Although they were experts in the Scrip­ture, due to their evil intents, they for­got that God has armed Jesus so that all may know, from the rising of the sun to its set­ting, that apart from God, all is noth­ing (cf. First Reading).


The sub­ject of taxes was a burn­ing issue in the days of Jesus, due to the dom­in­eer­ing Roman Empire. In response to a fool­ish ques­tion, “Is it law­ful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus invites his fol­low­ers to hon­our and respect God and the gov­ern­ment. Chris­ti­ans should real­ize they hold dual cit­izen­ship in the king­dom of God and in the coun­try to which they pledge alle­gi­ance. Hence, they must keep this truth in bal­ance and always live in a way that hon­ours God. While Jesus invites Chris­ti­ans to pay or give tax to Caesar, the gov­ern­ment, he also invites Caesar, the gov­ern­ment, to pay back or return what it owes to God. To God, the gov­ern­ment owes wor­ship, respect, obed­i­ence, sub­mis­sion, total alle­gi­ance, faith­ful­ness, and ador­a­tion. Every gov­ern­ment must return or pay these back to God. As the psalm­ist says, they must give the Lord glory and power because they belong to him alone. They must sing and wor­ship the Lord (cf. Ps 95).

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPY OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE: SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vol. I)!! The reflec­tion for the 29th Sunday is found on pages 488–500. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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