When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him. (Mk 12:14-17, emphasis added)
The chief priests and scribes heard Jesus teaching the people, and they decided that they wanted to test Him. They wanted to trick Him into saying something publicly for which He could get into a lot of trouble. But Jesus answered them with the wisdom that He received from God. The crowd marveled at His answer, and the chief priests and scribes were silenced.
When Jesus asks whose image and inscription were on the coin, they answered correctly, “Caesar’s.” Genesis 1:26 tells us that mankind was made in the image and likeness of God. Believers also have the inscription of God’s law written within them. (Ex 13:9; Isa 44:5; Jer 31:33)
WE have God’s image and inscription written upon us, as believers, so we should desire to give ourselves to Him. We are obligated to pay taxes, but we owe our very lives and all that we are and all that we have to God. Our duty to God will always surpass our duty to the government. Why? Because when we were born again we were “conformed to the image of His Son.” (Ro 8:29)
Another thing that is due the Lord is a tithe of our income to support the preaching and teaching of the Gospel. In Bible times, the Hebrews also were expected to give tithes to their priests, because the tribe of Levi had not been given an inheritance in the Promised Land. So they relied upon the Hebrews for their livelihood.
. . . because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Ro 1:21, emphasis added)
One of the major things that we owe to God is to glorify Him. Even our very bodies belong to God!
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Co 6:19-20)
We should rejoice in our God, in our salvation, and in our blessings. For these reasons, alone, let us thankfully give the Lord all of our praise and worship continuously.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ . . . (Phil 3:20) In the end, we are citizens of Heaven—our eternal home.