We’re attempting to answer the question What exactly are Christians supposed to do? by looking at 50 commands straight from the mouth of Jesus.
The religious leaders came to Jesus with a trick question:
They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
And they were amazed at him.
(Mark 12:13-17; see also Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26)
The question was designed to make look Jesus bad no matter how he answered. If he said “yes,” it would show loyalty to Caesar instead of God. If he said “no,” he would be disobeying the law and the leaders could report him to the authorities and have him arrested.
Never try to trap Jesus.
Sure, we should pay our taxes. But God is after something muuuuuch deeper than that. Everything belongs to him. He wants our ♥s. He wants an intimate relationship with us. He wants us to know him and to trust him. He wants our LOVE. As Jesus said, the #1 command is:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Do what Jesus says: Give God all you’ve got. There’s no other way to live.
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / Sementer)