He (Jesus) said to them, Render therefore to Cæesar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.
Matthew 22, 21
Bitter hatred of the Lord Jesus turned political enemies into allies. In this case, the Pharisees allied themselves to King Herod’s followers in order to set a trap for Jesus. After a few dishonest compliments (v.16) they asked Him, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Cæsar, or not?” If Jesus had simply affirmed their inquiry about taxes, the Pharisees would have reproached Him with being in alliance with the Romans. They could have brought discredit upon Him among the strongly nationally minded Jews.
The Herodians, on the other hand, were loyal Roman vassals. If Jesus had ordered them not to pay taxes, they would have had occasion to incite the Romans to charge Him.
The Son of God saw through their sinister intentions. He simply asked them to show Him a coin. Then His opponents should themselves say whose image was on the coin: the Roman Cæsar. Jesus conclusion was: “Give to Cæsar what is Cæsar’s,” and added, “and to God what is God’s.” Jesus was no Jewish revolutionary. He would not overthrow state laws; the authorities were appointed by God (cf., Romans 13, 1).
What are we to give to God nowadays? What has He a right to? As our Creator He expects us to acknowledge His authority, by “glorifying him as God” and “being thankful” (Romans 1, 21). As our Saviour-God, who does not wish to give up His guilty creatures, but gave His own Son for them out of inconceivable love, He expects us to return to Him and accept Christ as our Saviour by faith. Therefore, give to God what is due to Him!