Render to Caesar (Mk 12:17-12:17)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Give to the emperor Caesar

The things

That are the emperor Caesar’s.

Give to God

The things

That are God’s.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τὰ Καίσαρος ἀπόδοτε Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:21, and in Luke, chapter 20:25, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus responded to them (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) by telling them to give to the Roman emperor Caesar the things that belonged to the emperor (Τὰ Καίσαρος ἀπόδοτε Καίσαρι).  At the same time, they should give to God the things that belong to God (καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ).  Jesus appeared to accept the Roman rule and its taxing policies, as he also had a milder view of their tax collectors.  With this ambiguous answer, Jesus avoided offending Jewish nationalists and the Roman Empire party and its officials.  Thus, the Roman and Jewish parties were both satisfied and unsatisfied at the same time.  If everything belonged to God, do not pay this tax.  If everything belonged to the Roman empire, pay the tax.  The choice was theirs.  He was not going to tell them what to do.  This statement of Jesus has become the basic Christian understanding of the relationships between religious church organizations and state civic organizations.

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The desolate land of Jeremiah’s vision (Jer 4:23-4:26)

“I looked on the earth.

O!

It was waste and void.

I looked to the heavens.

They had no light.

I looked on the mountains.

O!

They were quaking.

All the hills moved to and fro.

I looked!

O!

There was no one at all.

All the birds of the air had fled.

I looked!

O!

The fruitful land was a desert.

All its cities were laid in ruins.

Before Yahweh!

Before his fierce anger!”

This lamenting vision or view of Jeremiah points out a ruined land that was wasted and empty. He looked to the heavens and there was no light. He saw that the mountains and hills were shaking back and forth. There was no one on earth. Even the birds were fleeing. The beautiful fruitful land was now a desert with the cities in ruin. All this happened because of the fierce anger of Yahweh.