“Even tax collectors
Came to be baptized.
They asked him.
What shall we do?’”
ἦλθον δὲ καὶ τελῶναι βαπτισθῆναι καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσωμεν;
This is another one of the unique sayings of Luke about John and his preaching that is not found elsewhere in the biblical writings. Luke said that even tax collectors came to be baptized (ἦλθον δὲ καὶ τελῶναι βαπτισθῆναι). They asked John (καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν), as their teacher (Διδάσκαλε), what they should do (τί ποιήσωμεν). Tax collectors had a special role in the biblical writings as they were considered like traitors to the Jewish people, since these were Jewish people who collected the Roman tax from the local people. However, they seemed capable of repentance, as here they were seeking baptism from John.
What do you think?
Is it lawful
To pay taxes
εἰπὸν οὖν ἡμῖν, τί σοι δοκεῖ; ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ;
This is similar to Mark, chapter 12:14, and Luke, chapter 20:22, but slightly different. Then these Pharisee disciples and the Herodians tried to trick Jesus. They wanted to know what Jesus thought about the Roman tax. They asked him (εἰπὸν οὖν ἡμῖν) what did he think (τί σοι δοκεῖ). Was it lawful to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not (ἔξεστιν δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἢ οὔ)? Rome had an annual personal census tax of one denarius worth about $1.50 USA, not that much. However, many of the Roman tax collectors were considered sinners. Jesus, on the other hand, had a milder view of these tax collectors. He appeared to accept the Roman rule and its taxing policies. As the political party of the Romans, the Herodians, and the Israelites, the Pharisees, were there. Thus, his answer might offend someone.