Render Unto Caesar
Christ received the Herodians and Phariseean disciples, knowing what was on their mind. They approached Christ wanting to know his stands on tax payment to the government. Christ did not mince words or put forward a parable to them. Give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar he said. This statement has been so many times interpreted by men of old and contemporary believers. We have resigned to accepting that Caesar is an idol, who is a significant alternative to our earthly challenges. We consult the acclaimed Caesar, when we think Christ is in delay mode and we have to catch up with contemporaries. We are quick to point to the Scriptures that Christ said Give to Caesar, what belongs to Caesar. This is delimitation of the potency and intending message of the Scripture, we didn’t check the precedence of the conversation. Christ will never suggest you consult divine powers anywhere else asides him. He said he is the way, truth and life. He is the absolute deity, who died upon the cross so that you and I could have victory over the idols we assume as Caesar. Who then is Caesar? Caesar is the government and body of law. We have social responsibilities towards the government and we should oblige to them.
What then do we give to Caesar?
Peter stated, show respect for everyone, Honour the King (1Per2:17). In one of the preceding verses, he said: submit yourself to every ordinance of the King and all supreme authorities (1Pet2:13). Either a local councilor, state governor or a county head. We have a divine obligation to reverence every man in government. This is the will of God so our good works as Christians would ultimately show us approved and silence every ignorance of the foolish(1Pet2:15). We shouldn’t be caught in the web of insulting or condemning the authorities that oversees the socioeconomic and political affairs of our geographical enclave. Paul was summoned to appear before Festus and Herod Agrippa II, he was very careful of his utterances. Even when Festus accused him of speaking profane, Paul replied Festus in the most noble of manner(Acts26:24-25). We are also to regard the laws instituted by the government. It is imperative as Christians to diligently obey the rules governing our society, Christianity does not exempt us from obeying traffic laws, obliging to noise pollution regulations, seeking church structure permits and church edifice model. Nehemiah didn’t start the wall of Jerusalem until he got permission from the King. He could have gone ahead with the building project, predicating on God’s signature. It was imperative he waited on the King not because he condescended God, but to show God’s glory through the King. The king granted his request because the hand of the Lord was upon him (Neh2:4–5). Sanballat and Tobiah couldn’t go beyond their threats even as prominent cabinet members, because Nehemiah had state approvals from the King. This was result of respect for a supreme authority.
Augustus Caesar demanded that the whole world be taxed. It was upon this premise that Jesus said, we should render unto Caesar. The idea of tax is to generate revenue for the government and develop the state. Money raised from tax is used to create structures for our convenience and enabling platform for our enterprise to thrive. Tax money is supposedly used to build and maintain, state-owned schools, hospitals, roads etc. The tax system has been modified in present times and we now have different form of bills and permits to ensure maintenance of developmental conversation within the society. We are now obliged to pay car licenses, waste management bills, electricity bills etc. The law demanded Jesus paid the temple tax, which is money collected by the local council to protect the edificial rights of the church. The church structure must renew tenancy permit or occupancy license, so the edifice would not be marked for bulldozing.
Prayers obviously does not belong to Caesar, it is our heartfelt conversations that we offer to God trusting him to manifest answers. The image of today’s events and the nonchalance of our government towards us, makes it unnecessary that we offer prayers for them. The rise of leaders going to war at the expense of citizens, in a bid for territorial supremacy. The emergence of monopolistic plutocrats who do commerce, exploiting the masses with regular kick backs to the government. These and many other viable reasons are why we can hold back our prayers for the man in seat of government. Paul admonishes us in his letter to Timothy, to pray for kings and all in Authority(1Tim2:2-4), so we might live a peaceful life and it is pleasing to God. The war between nations, socioeconomic and political entropy are results of nego-spiritual indoctrination of our leaders by idols. These are battles for the Christians in the war room of prayers.
Queen Esther offered a 3 day prayer after the purposed annihilation of her people by the King and Haman. The Jews were already in distress and despair. Prayers changed all of that. Whatever wrong we see perpetrated by our leaders are subtle ways by the devil to oppress Christians and the populace at large. We have a divine charge to pray for every man in government, to liberate them from the hold of the wicked and more importantly win their souls for God. The petition we offer for God on behalf of our leaders, is proportionate to the quality of life we would live as individuals. These prayers would keep them from all their wrong thoughts and actions, we would have more capitalist, socialist and society leadership who are sincerely obliged to the yearnings of the populace. Prayers for Caesar simply means the tax collected will be rightly used, we would have better schools, well equipped hospitals, the government will rightly distribute wealth, there will be less battle for supremacy. Elections will be devoid of violence and malignant accusations. The government will legislate against ungodly decrees and we will be able to disseminate the gospel. It means the Russian president will not incite volatile words against America, South Korean leader will not become dictatorial to his followers and there will be less Antichristian Sect.
Supposedly, our leaders have compromised on their promises, they have misappropriated public funds and state tax, and it seems they don’t deserve any offerings. Jesus paid the temple tax, he said that we may not offend our leaders (Mat17:27). When we refuse to adhere to government laws, it automatically brings a legal charge against us. This questions our faith and we are asked, what would Jesus have done? Incases, where we our rights are infringed as Christians, we are exploited, the church building is brought down, we can’t see result of tax paid and gospel dissemination is legislated against. The Bible doesn’t expect us to stage protests, write petitions or begin legal proceedings against the state. God his mighty enough to defend his name. He defended his name against Pharaoh, Haman, Nahash, Agrippa1 etc. He didn’t need Moses, Esther, Saul or Peter to raise a hand. He is God, Strong and Mighty in battle.
Shedrack and Co. didn’t lose regard for Nebuchadnezzar, neither did Daniel for King Darius. They didn’t start an uproar against the state of Babylon for legislating against the worship of God. Instead they waited upon God to defend himself. Christ paid tax, recommended we pay tax, honored legal proceedings charged against him and showed respect for every earthly law. Regards for King Xerxes started the wall of Jerusalem, Christ’s admonishment to pay tax earned him the absolute respect of the Pharisees, Shedrack et al allowing God defend his cause won Babylon for Christ. The permit we refuse to pay and the disregard for the law is holding back one soul for Jesus. We have a divine charge to show respect, pay tax and pray for everyman in authority.
To access the life of a Victor. You must have a relationship with Jesus. Confess Jesus as your Lord and savior today, believing he died for your sins and resurrected for your justification.