Vicar’s Reflection: OS 29, October 22nd, 2017
What a sly answer Jesus gave to that carefully crafted question: “Is it against our Law to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor, or not?” Jesus is caught either way on the only two options the question seems to provide. If he answers that it is against the Law (Torah) then he could stir up revolution amongst the God-fearing faithful of Israel, and provide grounds for his immediate arrest as an agitator. If he answers that it is OK to pay taxes then he would be a supporter of foreign oppression and a traitor to the God-fearing faithful. The questioners asked this question with great relish, indicated by the flattery leading up to it. Jesus gets to the heart of the matter by asking for the currency in which the tax is paid. Perhaps he made a play of not finding one in his own pocket, so his questioners had to provide one. Jesus asked about the image on the coin to make it clear that this coin was part of the Roman economy ‘Oikonomia’. His answer was entirely logical. If you share in the benefits of the Roman economy, then you also share in its costs, including taxation. There is also a Divine economy the costs of which have all been paid for by Jesus in his sacrificial offering of himself as our Saviour, leaving us to freely receive the benefits of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. You can’t get these from an IRD refund.