The Pharisees and the Herodians thought they had trapped Jesus when they asked Him whether or not they should pay taxes to the Roman emperor. If Jesus told them to pay taxes to the oppressive Roman government, then He would lose His popularity with the masses. This popularity protected Jesus from being arrested by the Jewish leaders (see Mk 12:12; 14:2). If Jesus lost His popularity, it would be much easier for the Jews to arrest Him.
On the other hand, if Jesus told the people not to pay taxes, then the Romans would be compelled to arrest Jesus, despite the crowds. Then the Jewish religious leaders would have gotten rid of Jesus by using the Romans to do their "dirty work."
Jesus escaped the trap by saying: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, but give to God what is God's" (Mk 12:17). The masses were pleased that Jesus did not tell them to pay taxes, and the Romans did not have the Jewish background to fully understand exactly what Jesus was saying to the people.
Jesus' escape was amazing. Therefore, "their amazement at Him knew no bounds" (Mk 12:17).
Prayer: Father, I accept Your grace to correctly form my conscience regarding paying federal and state income taxes which fund abortions.
Promise: "Happy the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands." —Ps 112:1
Praise: St. Justin sought God in many different schools of philosophy, but finally came to know Christ through His Church.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 28, 1998
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 1, 1998
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