What did Jesus say about paying taxes?
Jesus knew the Pharisees and Herodians were trying to trap Him when they asked Him about taxes, but He took the opportunity to deflect their trap and lay out straightforward guidance for all of us.
Jesus Answers the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes
13Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement. 14They came and said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? 15“Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.” 16They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.
Clearly Jesus did not agree with everything the Romans were doing, but He still gave guidance to pay the taxes to Caesar. Some may speculate that He was just deflecting the trap question, but Jesus never provided a wrong answer just to avoid a trap. He always took the opportunity to address the trap and make a point on the right way of doing things also.
For those who need more convincing… the Bible has it.
Be Subject to Government
1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
It is ok to work lawfully to reduce the tax burden. Governments usually waste money badly. Often they spend on things which may not honor God. However, just refusing to pay is not the guidance that Jesus provided for His people. Also let us not take Romans 13 out of context… we are not to blindly obey government when it conflicts with the instructions of God. There are plenty of examples, such as that of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, where they disobeyed unrighteous government commands because they conflicted with God’s instruction. However, paying taxes does not conflict with the instructions of God.
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