Jesus and Taxation

I’ve noticed a somewhat disturbing trend among many American Christians, and it stems from Mark 12:13-17.

“Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 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.”


Basically, they were asking Jesus if it was required that they pay taxes to the government that was ruling over them, the Romans. Although their intent behind the question was sneaky and underhanded, Jesus had an extremely wise answer that left them speechless.


Christians SHOULD pay the taxes owed to the government. Refusing to pay your taxes and breaking the law is not a good reflection of Christ. Paying your taxes is biblical, and I think Jesus would give us a pretty similar answer if we asked him a question like this. 

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Photo Credit: Turning Point USA 


However, reflecting back on my statement about American Christians in the beginning of this piece, there is an important point to be made. Jesus simply said, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” He didn’t follow that up with, “Do not work to lower the taxes of your land. Pay the government exactly what it asks for without any push back.”


Too many Christians I know think that this passage means to simply pay whatever the government is asking for, no questions asked, no argument made. If you believe this, please, point me to a passage that says to simply lie down and take what the government dishes out without pushing back at all. Being a peacemaker and a good citizen does not mean that you don’t question the government or try to change things.
I am a taxpayer, and I will continue to begrudgingly hand over money to the government every year that I am required to. However, I will not stop pushing for taxation to be drastically slashed and for the taxpayer to keep more and more of their hard earned money. After all, realistically, taxation is theft.


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