In tonight’s lesson, we will read a parable of Jesus’s and also an exchange between the Pharisees and Jesus on the subject of taxes.
In verses 1-14, Jesus tells the parable of the wedding feast. In this story, a king invites guests to his son’s wedding and then sends servants to call the invited guests to come attend the wedding when it is time. However, the invited guests refuse to come to the wedding. In fact, the invited guests treat the wedding lightly, and some of the invited even killed the servants sent to fetch them to the wedding.
As a result of this, the king sends more servants out to invite anyone to the wedding, so that the wedding hall would be filled with guests. And so it was.
When the king came to see the guests, he saw one man there that did not come prepared to the wedding; he was not wearing a wedding garment. This guest had no explanation as to why he came unprepared. The king had this unprepared guest cast out.
In this parable, the wedding feast is the kingdom of God. Those guests originally invited are the Jewish people. The servants sent to call the invited guests to the wedding were the prophets of God. The king is God and the son is Jesus. The people that are brought to wedding at the last minute to fill the hall are those that hear His message today and follow Christ to salvation. The lesson with this parable is to not be like the man that came without a wedding garment. For this is the same as professing to be a follower of Christ yet not putting on the attributes and following the commandments and virtues laid out for the new kingdom. If we say we are faithful Christians, yet do not act accordingly, we will not be admitted to heaven, but will also be cast into outer darkness.
In verses 15-22, Jesus navigates through a trap set by the Pharisees to catch Him in a quandary about taxes. The question they ask is whether or not it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. This question is devised as a trap because many Jews did not want to pay taxes to their Roman oppressors. If Jesus says that the taxes should be paid, then he loses the loyalty of those loyal to the Roman government. However, if he says to not pay the taxes, He could become the target of the Roman government as mounting an insurrection against the government.
Jesus’s answer is not to pay the tax, but to render the tax back to the government from which it came. The distinction of “render” versus “pay” is important because to render implies to give back to where it came from, or to where it is rightfully owed. This is different from payment. The meaning therefore is that we should follow the rule of law of the land. In fact, to do so is the will of God, but not to follow the law where it contradicts with the Word of God.
I encourage you tonight to listen and pay attention to God’s holy Word. For in it is all we need for a righteous life approved by God.