The “Caesar” test:
The “Caesar” test was to ensnare Christ, this was the Pharisees plot to attempt a political entrapment of our Lord. The Pharisees and some Herodeans (partisans of the Herod clan) began with words of flattery which exalted Christ’s independence (vv. 15-16)—which brings them to the matter of Caesar. Is it lawful to pay taxes to him? Supposedly, if he said, “yes,” it would discredit him with the people; if he answered, “No,” he would be in trouble with the Roman authorities (Lk. 20:20). Discerning their wicked intentions, he laid them bare as hypocrites (v. 18). The Lord asked for a coin (he apparently did not have one), and they supplied a denarius, inscribed with Caesar’s image. “Whose image is this?” the Lord asked. “Caesar’s,” they replied. He then pointed out that there are legitimate responsibilities to government, but others to God. They were amazed and baffled, and left him alone—temporarily.
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
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Wed Bible Class: