Should We Pay Taxes?
They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes. (Good News: Jesus teaches about both!) When Jesus is confronted with the question of whether we should use our hard earned money to pay into a government we have no say in, he turns our attention to a deeper question: from where do we derive our true identity? Do we find our identity in our money and what it can get us? Or do we bear someone else’s image?
Matthew 22:15-22 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Question about Paying Taxes
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.