God and Caesar: Part 2
July 26, 2020

God and Caesar: Part 2

Series:
Passage: Mark 12:13-17
Service Type:

Bible Text: Mark 12:13-17 | Preacher: Pastor Robert Altman | Series: God and Caesar | Text: Mark 12:13-17
13And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him
in his words. 14And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that
thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but
teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 15Shall we
give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt
ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. 16And they brought it. And he saith unto
them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. 17And
Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to
God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.
Thy Kingdom Come
Quietly, but with great power
quickly, but with an even pace
Peacefully, but with great battles
intellectually, but through foolishness
Unified, but by dividing
Graciously, but through immeasurable wrath
Joyful, but with a seriousness which cannot be shaken
Thy Will Be Done
When we come to the text laid before us today, we must approach it with care and wisdom. Jesus
lived in one of the most heated political and social times in history. His own people were
splintered in factions over views of the day. Everyone picked a side or was placed on a side.
Revolts could happen at any moment, Rome could sweep in and crush Jerusalem when it suited
them, governmental abuse ran ramped, prejudices abounded, slavery was common; placing
people of many walks of life in chains, and religion was corrupt. You could die, be suppressed,
or enslaved for a number of reasons by various groups of people for about any reason. Every
position was dangerous, and most questions were loaded to get a person to choose a side in order
to shame, condemn and oppress them. The climate was very much like our social climate today
without the technologies we possess to trap, demean, and accost each other more rapidly.
The kingdom of the world has always been hateful and cruel toward its citizens. Which reminds
us why our King (Jesus) came into this world to introduce His Kingdom and encourage the
spread of it through the preaching of the gospel. Through grace Jesus admits, by rebirth, all those
who believe in His name into His Kingdom. His Kingdom is completely different from the harsh
bankrupt Kingdom of this world. God’s Kingdom is one of Joy, Unity, Fellowship, Peace, and
Order. Those of us who are citizens of God’s Kingdom feel like strangers on the earth because
we live strangely in comparison to the citizens of this world.

It is clear today that the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this world are not the same. In
communication, conduct, and community the church, local groupings of God’s Kingdom citizens,
are to differ greatly from our counterparts.
If the church hears and heeds the teaching of the Lord who purchased us with His suffering and
death our life together will be salt and light to the world in
I. Our communication, which is
a.) Gracious (Colossians 4:6)
b.) Limited and constrained (Ecclesiastes 5:2, James 1:19)
c.) Beautiful and Powerful (Proverbs 25:11)
d.) Truthful, in celebration and defense of the truth (Ephesians 4:25, Galatians 2:11-13)
II. Our Conduct Which is
a.) Wise (1st Samuel 18:14)
b.) Kind (Ephesians 4:31-32)
c.) Blessed, Helpful (Luke 6:28)
d.) Loving, fearful, and Honorable (1st Peter 2:17)
III. Our Community Which is
a.) Different but united (Ephesians 2:14)
b.) Different but Gifted (1st Corinthians 12:4-6)
c.) A Community Worship and Administration (Revelation 1:6)
d.) Faithful to one another (Hebrews 10:25)
This is why pastors, including me, cringe with deep grief when those of our church or those who
name Christ as King engage in worldly matters out of selfish pride refusing to be led by the Holy
Spirit in their conduct. I am at odds with you because you are claiming God’s Kingdom and
behaving like an unredeemed member of the world’s Kingdom. It is confusing and damaging to
the building up of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Better yet, Christ the Lord is against such
behavior. Today is a day of mourning and repentance that often in our conversations we preach
another gospel, to the which Paul says we are to be under God’s curse (Galatians 1:8) and to
those of us who receive such talk is deceived by Satan in the same manner as Eve (2nd
Corinthians 11:4). Therefore, we ought to repent toward God and grow bold in our faith through
submission to the word of God.
Now, returning to our text with an enlightened and clear conscience let us observe the beauty of
our Lord’s surgically precise answer to His entrappers which made them marvel at His glory.
Varying Factions within Judaism
To get a glimpse at the political climate of the day we need a quick breakdown of these different
factions.
PHARISEES (from Greek for “separated ones”) Evolution • Brotherhoods devoted to the Torah
and its strict adherence from c150 BCE. Became the people’s party, favored passive resistance to
Greco-Roman rule Beliefs • Believed in Messianic redemption, resurrection, free will, angels and
demons, and oral interpretations of the Torah Practices • Fasted twice a week and washed

ritually. Observed seven hours of prayer and gave 10 percent of all possessions to the Temple
Fate • Numbered perhaps 60,000 at the time of Herod. Disappeared after 70 CE but theology
survived
SCRIBES (soferim in ancient Hebrew) Evolution • Copiers and interpreters of the Torah since
before the Exile of 586 BCE. Linked to the Pharisees, but some were also Sadducees and on the
Sanhedrin Supreme Council Beliefs • Defined work, etc, so as to keep the Sabbath. Obedience to
their written code would win salvation Practices • Compiled the Mishnah record of oral law c200
CE Fate • Only group to survive the Jewish Revolt of 66–73 CE
SADDUCEES (perhaps from Greek for “followers of Zadok,” Solomon’s High Priest) Evolution
• Conservative, wealthy, and aristocratic party of the status quo from c150 BCE. Usually held the
high priesthood and were the majority of the 71-member Sanhedrin Supreme Council. Prepared
to work with Rome and Herods Beliefs • Did not believe in resurrection, free will, angels, and
demons, or oral interpretations of the Torah – enjoy this life Practices • High Priests had a
monopoly on animals for sacrifice and levied 10 percent tithe for upkeep of the Temple.
Marriage and luxurious living were acceptable Fate • Did not survive the destruction of the
Temple 70 CE
ESSENES (probably Greek from the Syriac “holy ones”) Evolution • Breakaway desert monastic
group, especially at Qumran on the Dead Sea from c130 BCE Lived communally, without
private property, as farmers or craftsmen under a Teacher of Righteousness and Council Beliefs •
Priesthood, Temple sacrifices, and calendar were all invalid. They expected the world’s early end
and did not believe in resurrection. Year’s probation for membership Practices • Worshipped
three times a day in strict order. Copied Hebrew scriptures. Ritual baths plus meal of wine and
bread on Sabbath. Few married, and women lived outside walls Fate • Numbered about 4,000.
Qumran was destroyed 68–70 CE
ZEALOTS (from Greek “zealous one”) Evolution • Extremist fighters who regarded political
freedom as a religious imperative. Underground resistance movement, especially strong in
Galilee. The most fanatical became sicarii, dagger-wielding assassins Beliefs • “No rule but the
Law – No King but God”. They expected a Messiah to save their cause Practices • Led revolts
against Rome in 6, 42 and 66–73 CE but were often divided among themselves Fate • Last stand
by 900 Zealots at Masada 73 CE
(Source: http://www.fofweb.com/Electronic_Images/Onfiles/CROFvol4-04.pdf)
Herodians
The Herodians held political power, and most scholars believe that they were a
political party that supported King Herod Antipas, the Roman Empire’s ruler over
much of the land of the Jews from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39. The Herodians favored
submitting to the Herods, and therefore to Rome, for political expediency. This
support of Herod compromised Jewish independence in the minds of the Pharisees,
making it difficult for the Herodians and Pharisees to unite and agree on anything.
(Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/Herodians.html)

Among these groups and in one of the most intense times in history comes the question of paying
taxes to Caesar. The scripture tells us the question had been screened and put together in order to
place Jesus in one or more positions of turmoil and ridicule hoping to silence the
vagabond preacher. If Jesus said that Jews were to pay tribute to Caesar it would undermine the
independence of Israel and offend its deeply rooted nationalism, setting Jesus at odds with the
nationalist and zealots, while at the same time making His claim as Messiah look weak. If He
slighted Caesar in His response the Herodians and Pharisees would certainly report Him to Rome
and have Him killed. It appeared that Jesus needed to avoid the question or answer it with the
risk of stirring up some movement in Judaism. Yet we know the outcome was marvelous and
made the attackers marvel at Jesus’s ability to speak truth in the most fragile of circumstances.
Today we will learn how to handle sensitive questions the way Jesus did.
I. He Exposed Reason (15 “Why Tempt Ye Me”)
Jesus knew right away why the question was asked. Recently he was welcomed in as King by a
multitude of people. He later emptied the temple of price gouging merchants. He knew that the
religious leaders were angry and would put Him in the worst position possible. He unmasked
their intentions. They did not wish to learn of Him to better conduct their lives. They did not
value Him for His teaching and made their aim His demise. If we are to answer sensitive
questions in a fashion that glorifies God we must bring wisdom to the table which tells us the
reason behind the question. As a pastor I am well aware people have asked questions simply to
argue or trap you in an answer against your conscience. Social media is a great place to see
humanity make declarations or pose questions for the sake of exposure and not edification. Jesus
first exposed their intentions and could have walked away, which may be our best option at
times, but He in all His wisdom and care answered the question further.
II. He Expressed Rights (16 “Whose Image”)
From this point forward in Jesus’s answer He operates from the point of Divine rights. God has
granted worldly kingdoms a scope of power and privilege to be obeyed and respected. Caesar
had rights under the protection of God Almighty. God has the Divine rights over all people. He
defends His position with imagery. He asks for them to give Him a coin, one which was in
their own possession. He then asks whose image is on the coin. The coin is Caesar’s. Like him or
not you are using his coins for your trade and well-being. You are walking on streets and enjoy
protected ports of trade he furnishes. He has asked for some of his coin back. It is his right to ask
for his coin and your obligation to honor it lest you be found a liar, traitor, and thief. He has so
far given proper due to Caesar which no man telling the truth could testify against. But what
about God? He finishes the short teaching with the words “and unto God the things which are
God”.
He did not need a coin for this portion of the teaching because every Jew there knew and
understood they were made in the image of God. Jesus is saying “you belong to God” give
yourself wholly to Him. God will call to account your body, Spirit, and conscience. The nation of
Israel, its people was God’s and not Caesar. Their independence and accountability to God first
was never diminished. Caesar held right to coin and property but God has sovereign rights over
people and conscience that government cannot rightly claim.

III. He Exalted Reigns (17 Render to Caesar and God)
The kingdom of this world is governed by fallen men. We represent the governments of the
world with the name Caesar. When you come to a heated topic in this world remember you are
talking about fallen men, ideas, implementation of laws, and systems. Before we as Christian
people argue for any position in this world remember at best it is fallen and worst it is pure evil.
The kingdoms of the world and all its frailty will burn with fire. Before you destroy someone for
whom Christ died consider the judgement to follow.
Remember the kingdom of this world has its place, but Jesus did not come to die for this
kingdom. He is not renovating the world’s kingdom. He will crush it under His feet. Jesus died
for God’s Kingdom and it is this Kingdom we promote, live, and die for. This is not our home.
We are strangers looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. Jesus understood this
position and measured His responses to worldly affairs correctly and effectively through this
lens. This week coming fix your mind on the Kingdom of God while you live in this present age.
Live like Jesus and answer delicate questions in the same manner as your Lord and may God be
exalted in your life.
The marveling followed. They stood in amazement that He left the rights of God and Caesar
intact the way God designed it. God nor Caesar lost honor. Jesus stood blameless before God and
man and they knew it and yet couldn’t believe it. We can aim at the same. Let us be going the
time is at hand.

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