“Caesar’s Things to Caesar”
LET’S take out some money and look at it. What do you see on the money?— Who made this money?— The government did.
For thousands of years governments have made the money that people use. When the Great Teacher was on earth, the Roman government made money. And do you know who the ruler of that government was?— He was called Caesar.
The Roman government did many good things for the people in those days. And governments today do many good things for us. They build roads for travel. They pay policemen and firemen to protect us.
It costs money for a government to do these things. Do you know where the government gets the money?— It gets it from the people. The money that people pay to the government is called taxes.
Many people do not like to pay taxes. When Jesus was on earth, some of the Jews did not want to pay any taxes to the Roman government. They hated such taxes. So, one day some men came to the Great Teacher and asked him: ‘Do we have to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’
Now, the men asked this question to trick Jesus. For if Jesus answered, ‘Yes, you must pay taxes,’ many of the Jews would not like what Jesus said. But Jesus could not say, ‘No, you don’t need to pay taxes.’ It would be wrong to say that.
So this is what Jesus did. He said to those men: ‘Show me a coin.’ When they brought him a coin, Jesus asked them: ‘Whose picture and name are on it?’
The men said: “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said: “By all means, then, pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.”—Luke 20:19-26.
Wasn’t that a fine answer?— No one could find anything wrong with that. If Caesar does things for people, it is only right to use the money that Caesar made to pay him for these things. So in this way Jesus showed that it is right to pay taxes to the government for the things we receive.
Now, you may not be old enough to pay taxes. But there is something that you should give to the government. Do you know what that is?— It is obedience to the government’s laws.
It is God who tells us this. His Word says: ‘Be obedient to the superior authorities.’ And who are the ‘superior authorities’?— The men who have power in the government. So we really should obey the law. God says so.—Romans 13:1, 2.
Consider an example. There may be a law not to throw paper or other litter on the street. Should you obey that law?— Yes, God wants you to obey it.
Should we be obedient to policemen too?— The government pays policemen to protect people. Obeying them is the same as obeying the government.
So if you are about to cross a street and a policeman says, “Wait!” what should you do?— What if others run across anyway, should you?— Even if you are the only one who waits, you should. God tells us to obey.
There may be trouble in the neighborhood and a policeman may say, “Stay off the streets. Don’t go outside.” But you may hear shouting and wonder what’s going on. Should you go outside to see?— Would this be obeying the ‘superior authorities’?—
The government in many places also builds schools. And it pays the teachers. When the children do what the teacher says, it makes for peace in the classroom. So do you think God wants you to obey the teacher?—
There is no scripture in the Bible that says, “Obey your teacher.” But the Bible shows that you should obey. The government pays the teacher to teach, just as it pays a policeman to protect people. So being obedient to either a policeman or a teacher is like obeying the government.
Or we can look at it this way. God tells children to ‘obey their father and mother.’ But your father and mother have sent you to school for the teacher to look after you. So it is right to obey your teacher, just as you obey your parents at home.—Ephesians 6:1.
I am not always with you. So I may not see whether you obey the teacher. But God sees. And it is God whom we really want to please, isn’t it?— Also, I may not see if you obey the policeman. But who does see?— God does. Always remember that.
Remember, too, that God comes first in our lives. We obey the government because that is what God wants us to do. But what if they tell us to do what God says we should not do?— If anyone tells us, “You don’t have to obey God,” does God want us to listen to that?—
That happened to the apostles of Jesus. Now what would the apostles do? What would you have done?— They answered: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.