Things That Are God’s

When Jesus was a toddler a group of zealous men rebelled against the Roman government believing that when they paid taxes they were violating the commandment that no one should make an engraved image of God. The “Zealots” as they became known, were quickly stamped out. By the time Jesus was in his 30’s the Zealots were heroic in the minds of many Jews wanting to live the spiritual life while suffering under Roman oppression. Knowing this reality, the Pharisees teamed up with their much hated enemies, the Herodians to seek to destroy Jesus. If they could trap Jesus saying the Zealots were wrong the super spiritual would label him a Roman sympathizer. If Jesus says don’t pay taxes then he will face the same death of the Zealots. Setting the scene, the Herodians and Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful for one to pay taxes. The tax they asked Jesus about in Mark 12 was a reaction set in place by the Romans as a reminder the Zealots were put down. In fact, the language on the coin was so inflammatory that a “true” Jew would hate to carry it in his pocket. Jesus foils the trap and pronounces judgment on those who believe themselves spiritual elite while following the ways of this World.