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June 21, 2022

A Subtle Question with a Marvelous Answer

Mark 12:13 And they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and Herodians that they might catch Him in His speech. 14 And they came and said to Him, Teacher, we know that You are true and do not fear anyone, for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Should we give, or should we not give? 15 But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, Why do you tempt Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may look at it. 16 And they brought one. And He said to them, Whose is this image and inscription? And they said to Him, Caesar's. 17 And Jesus said to them, The things that are Caesar's render to Caesar, and the things that are God's to God. And they marveled greatly at Him.

The Pharisees were very patriotic, wholly for the Jewish nation. The Herodians were for the Roman imperialists. Hence, these two parties could not work together. But in dealing with this wonderful Person. the Slave-Savior, those who were enemies came together to ask the Lord a subtle question, a question related both to patriotism and imperialism. It may seem to us that there was no way for the Lord Jesus to answer this question [in v. 14] . Suppose He had said, "No, we should not give tribute to Caesar." Then the Herodians would have said, "You are against the Romans. You should be arrested and cast into prison." But suppose the Lord had said, "Yes, it is right to give tribute to Caesar." Then the Pharisees would have said, "You are betraying your country, for you are working for the Roman imperialists." How devilishly subtle was the question raised by the Pharisees and Herodians! Although the Lord was questioned in a devilishly subtle way, He was not afraid. Rather, maintaining His dignity, He said to them, "Why are you tempting Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it" (12:15). The Lord Jesus did not show them the Roman coin, but asked them to show one to Him. Since they possessed one of the Roman coins, they were caught. After they brought a coin to Him, He said, "Whose image and inscription is this?" (v. 16). When they answered, "Caesar's," the Lord went on to say, "The things of Caesar pay to Caesar, and the things of God to God" (v. 17). To pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar's is to pay tribute to Caesar according to his governmental regulations. To pay to God the things of God is to pay the half shekel to God according to Exodus 30:11-16, and also to offer the tithes to God according to the law of God. The section in the Gospel of Mark concerning the SlaveSavior being tested by the Pharisees and the Herodians concludes with these words: "And they marveled at Him." The Lord answered them in His divine wisdom, and they were silenced and subdued. (c) Living Stream Ministry.

Bible verses are taken from the Recovery Version of the Bible and Words of Ministry from Witness Lee, Life-study of Mark, pp. 320-321. Both are published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA. Please visit us at www.emanna.com. Send comments to: comment@emanna.com.

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Life-study of Mark