Heavenly Tax Tables

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It was meant to be a tricky situation.

The religious leaders of His day thought they could catch Jesus on the issue of tax fraud. They asked Him if He paid taxes to Rome (which was even more annoying to the citizens of the country then than it is to the citizens of our country today!).

Jesus wasn't fooled by the question so he turned the tables on them once again. He took a coin and held it up in front of their noses and asked whose picture was stamped on its face. Of course, it was Caesar's image.

"Then he said to them, 'So give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.'" (Matthew 22:21).

For the moment that silenced his critics. I wonder if they thought about the implications of what Jesus said in that pointed statement. It begs the question: "So if I give back to God whatever bears His image, just as I give back whatever bears Caesar's image, then what am I being asked to give back to God?"

A little while later, when the religious leaders returned to test Jesus again, the question was "...which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" (Matthew 22:36). To this Jesus replied (summarizing them all): "Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment" (22:38).

If these men had added up 1 + 1, or, in other words, Jesus' previous statement with this one, they would have answered the question: "what am I being asked to give back to God?"

Mankind bears God's image (Genesis 1:27) and God wants back every bit of man.

That's what redemption is all about—every bit of every one of us restored to relationship with the One whose image we bear. Every bit of who we are, what we have, what we do, and what we think, comes back into His "coffers" for Him to use to further His redemptive mission in the world.

And you thought the federal government was asking a lot?

He doesn't just want a percentage, He wants ALL of us.


  1. Oh wow - I had never thought of it QUITE this way before. If it has His image, it goes to Him. Powerful!


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