Caesar's coin


We have a new priest, his voice does not carry as well as the old priest, however, a mans’ ears do open on Sunday.
Today’s Gospel was about currency and power. Caesar’s.
Jesus was subjected to some pointed questions with regard to currency. The people doing the asking were looking for the relationship God had with money, even though they did not believe Jesus was God.
I don’t think Jesus had any money on him because he asked for a coin, when he was given one he asked who’s head was on it, they said, ‘Caesar’s,’ he said, ‘then give it to him.’

I waited on the new priest after Mass, but he was busy so I spoke to Angus the Acolyte, asked him what would happen if all of Jerusalem emptied their pockets of coins, and gave them all back to Caesar. What if everyone did. The whole country. All of Rome. His entire empire from horizon to horizon.
‘What do reckon might happen Angus?’
‘Well,’ 'he said, ‘it would blow the wind out of his sails.’
That’s how you topple the empires we build.
In any case, that’s what I took home with me today. Warm up here in the ranges, a bit of tropical cloud around. The orchids are finished.



I think they would have all starved.


Some interesting things to ponder.



Several things, first the asking for a coin could just be a rhetorical strategy less so then just not having a coin.

As for giving all the money back, why would you? The point of “give to Caesar what is Caesars’” has to do with government and possibly Jewish messianic ideas that relate to overthrowing the Romans. So it is almost the opposite of your conclusion of overthrow but instead refuting the idea of a political messianic savior. That is to continue to give to Caesar what is his backing the right position of government in opposition to messianic beliefs common at the time.


Zimm3r: how am I going to teach that to my grandchildren?


Can’t speak for Zimm3r but If I may…I think that the core teaching here is to keep things separate…the worldly and the Spiritual. Remember how Jesus didn’t wash before dining and this caused and uproar among the Pharisees? Jesus response was to explain that externals signs of holiness do not necessarily equate to true, internal holiness.

To me, the most important thing to pass on is Love…the single most important aspect of our Faith and without which the rest is meaningless.
Teach your grandchildren Love of God and Love of neighbor and all else will fall into place - including a healthy understanding and respect for government and for money.



I don’t teach them love JRKH, I try to show them, when I can get their attention - all they want when the walk down the long drive to the bottom house to see me is to bludge a few chocolate biscuits …



“Show them” is the greatest of teaching tools.

St Francis is supposed to have said:
“Teach the Gospel always. When necessary use words.”

P.S. - never heard of “chocolate biscuits”…but then I think “biscuits” means something different here in the U.S.



The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Matthew 22:21, the “Render unto Caesar…” passage, in paragraph 2242, in its discussion of the Fourth Commandment (“Honor your father and your mother”), in the section dealing with “The duties of citizens.”


I think that you missed the biblical message. If the coin has on it the face of a pagan god, then it is an idol. Have you ever asked yourself why the need for the money changers at the Temple ?
Their purpose was to take the Roman coins [pagan idols] and exchange them for kosher coinage that were not idols; so that they could purchase a sacrifice without using pagan idols [which would be a sacrilege.]

In other words, if you had Roman coinage you could buy anything but a sacrifice. But if you had kosher coinage, you should buy a sacrifice or give it to G-d as in the tithe or charity.


I like your insight here but I don’t think that this is the answer we are looking for. The question that Jesus was asked was, “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:17).
So the question was not about the temple, or sacrifices, but about paying a tax to the occupying authority. - - - - Unless I’m missing something in your answer…



Why would it not be good to pay your taxes ? The Torah commands us to follow the laws of the land, as long as it does not violate Torah law.


I don’t have an answer to this - - I only relayed what is written in Scripture and IMHO what is written does not jive with your earlier explanation.



Because, it is not what is stated in the Christian scriptures, but the commentary that everyone quotes.

No one can understand the Christian Scriptures; unless they first understand Judaism, as Iesus and the apostles were Jewish.


Separation of church and state is what we take away at our church from this.

I have always found great peace with this.

The interpretation of this being about only Jewish sacrificial money exchange seems too small to me, but is great insight. The tax collectors were in fact extortionists, gangland thugs, by our standards. People had a lot of guilt in paying that ‘protection’ money to these mobsters. Stories like Robin Hood are all about that type of tax collection system.

Jesus gave them some peace.

Many feel that our current tax system is just as evil. I agree.

I thank Jesus for giving us this passage.


OK - then help me to understand.
I appears that what you are saying is that it was perfectly lawful for the Jews to pay the tax and the Jews would have know that it did not violate the Torah. So then why did they ask Jesus this question if they already knew it was lawful?



The prices were set, i assume by the Jewish High Court.

By the way, you might be interested in this:
The shulḥanim in Jerusalem used to set up their “tables” in the outer court of the Temple for the convenience of the numerous worshipers, especially those from foreign countries (Matt. 21:12–13). Excavations around the Temple walls have uncovered stores or kiosks, some of which, it has been surmised, were occupied by money changers. The Mishnah states that on the 15th of Adar, every year, “tables” were set up in the provinces (or in Jerusalem) for the collection of the statutory annual half-shekel, and on the 25th of Adar they were set up in the Temple itself (Shek. 1:3). The activity of the Jewish banker, shulḥani, was of a closely defined nature, as his transactions had to be in accordance with the biblical prohibition against taking interest (ribit). The Talmud records much information relating to his activities. An additional and interesting feature of his business was the payment on request of sums deposited with him for that purpose (BM 9:12)

Jesus gave them some peace.
Many feel that our current tax system is just as evil. I agree.
I thank Jesus for giving us this passage.

There is also the idea that they were just too close to the inner court, hence disrupting the prayers in the Temple, as it was not because of the price of the exchange.


They were hoping to trip him up as the common opinion of Iesus was of an illiterate.


Because Iesus was thought of as an illiterate person, and as always they were trying to trap him.


But trap him in what?


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