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October 5 - Evening

[The Pharisees and Herodians said:] "Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
"But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, 'You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.' " 
They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"
"Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.' "
- Matthew 22:17-21

Caesar's Coin on the Temple Mount

When the Pharisees and Herodians invited Jesus to comment on political issues and sectarian tensions, they were trying to lure him into their turf where together they could divide and conqueror his public popularity. The Pharisees and the Herodians were politically polar opposites. The Pharisees were a conservative, patriotic Bible-believing religious group of Jews who opposed King Herod and the Roman empire that gave him power. On the other side of the debate was a political party supporting Herod and the Herodian dynasty called the Herodians. These two parties of contrasting beliefs questioned Jesus concerning the subject of Roman taxation, one of the most divisive political issues between the Pharisees and Herodian.
The Herods were responsible to collect and pay a heavy tribute to Rome to secure their favored position and their needed support of Rome. In the process of collection the Herods would collect a substantial amount above and beyond Rome’s demand to help compensate their efforts and maintain their own government, military and life style. In addition to this the perfects of Judea such as Pontius Pilate would collect a poll and land tax to be sent directly to Rome. Of course, the Jewish Temple and religious system received none of the benefits of this money, so the Jewish religious leaders collected their own tax. So, together the taxes collected by Herod, Pilate and the Temple authorities were financially crushing the people. In his work the Bible Background Commentary Keener estimates that 49% of the annual income of a Jewish family went to these taxes:
  1. 32% to Rome (19% crops; 13% sales and income)
  2. 12% to Jew (8% crops; 4% Temple and sacrifices)
  3. 5% to corrupt officials
If Jesus had responded negatively towards Roman taxation of Jews he would naturally be labeled anti-Rome and would be associated with previous rebels who had led revolts against Rome because of this very issue of taxation (the revolt of Judas of Galilee in 6 AD which founded the Zealot political group which ultimately led to the Jewish revolt in 66 AD). If Jesus, who was now a popular public figure, renounced Roman taxation on the Temple Mount it is likely he would been arrested, and possibly executed, as a rebel. If Jesus had chosen to speak out against Roman taxation, this would be a legitimate punishment for insurrection. Jesus would have died for rebellion against Rome instead of for the sins of the world. In fact, Luke says something very close to this:
“They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.” – Luke 20:20

In contrast to speaking out against Rome, Jesus could have sided with Rome and then watched his worshipful crowd reject him because of his political stance on taxation. For sure, the public opinion will turn against Jesus, but it must not be over a political statement addressing taxation. Jesus is to go to the cross as the rejected Messiah, not as a sympathizer of the Roman Empire.
But, neither is Jesus’ response a crafty answer that avoids the question like politicians often seem to do when they maneuver all around an issue without really say anything. Jesus’ answer is both an offensive attack on his accusers and at the same time a lesson in a basic biblical view concerning the doctrine of government.
First, Jesus attacks his questioners by simply asking for a coin. Any Jewish coin would never have an portrait of a man on it since that would be considered an “image” and a violation of the second commandment. Any coin that the Herod’s minted contained a helmet, a shield, an anchor, cornucopia, ceremonial bowl, pomegranate and, on one very rare case, an eagle. The vain, self-promoting, self-preserving Herod never put his image on a Jewish coin in order to avoid the outcry from the pius Jewish people. Rome’s coins came complete with the emperor’s image and an inscription identifying the Roman emperor as Divi Filius, or “son of a god.” These coins were forbidden to be used by Jews and would be unthinkable to carry them into the Temple Mount. Because of this the Romans allowed the Jews to mint their own coins for use in their own land.
With this knowledge Jesus asks his opponents to give him a coin while standing on the Temple Mount. The coin that Jesus is given is a Roman Denarius (the smallest silver coin in circulation in Israel and equal to a day’s wages). Yes, a forbidden Roman coin minted by the oppressors themselves complete with the “idolatrous” image of Tiberius Caesar and the inscription of his ascribed deity on the obverse side. On the reverse side was Pax, the Roman goddess of peace, seated and encircled with the inscription “High Priest” (see coin here).
Jesus simply asks, “Whose portrait? Whose inscription?” They answer, “Caesar’s.” Their possession of the “idolatrous” coin is self-condemning, and to have it with them on the Temple Mount earns them the title of rebuke from the Lord: “You hypocrites.”
The second point Jesus makes is doctrinal and one that is often confused: Government is established by God. Government is a good institution. Throughout the New Testament government officials are respected and their governmental duties are honorable. There is no evil vs. good contrast between government and God. In fact, God established government.
Because of this doctrinal truth, Jesus has no trouble telling his critics the issue of taxation is not his concern. It is Caesar’s rightful position and Caesar's coin. So, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But, give to God what is God’s. The people had become so engrossed in politics and rebellion against government that they had neglected to give to God his rightful portion of his respect and honor.  You do not need to neglect either God nor Government. Both can be honored and respected in their rightful place.
The text then says:
                “When they heard this they were amazed.”

Right, because no one had ever explained it to them from the biblical position before.
Koinonia (Gr) -  Fellowship (Eng) - the Greek word koinonia refers to fellowship or relationship between people. Koinonia describes that intimate interaction between people that could be recognized by the sharing of food, ideas, values, beliefs, etc. Koinonia can describe a community of people with a common purpose.
Do I respect the government and the authorities that God has established?
I will honor men for their positions and titles without neglecting to honor and serve God who is in a greater position and with greater authority.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




Stand firm in face of opposition and persecution
Unions and workers
Philippines - need for solid Bible teaching, discipleship and rid of second-generation complacency

This is the Greek inscription above the fourth niche and beside the fifth niche in the large rock formation at Caesarea Philippi beside the cave known as the Gates of Hades. This mutilated inscriptioin reads:
"For Pan and the nymphs, Victor son of Lysimachos with his children dedicated a likeness in stone of Hermes, child of Maia, son of Zeus, having vowed it, the year 150"
In Jesus' time a temple stood in front of cave. In the cave or the grotto was a very deep pool that they never could measure (according to Josephus) and a powerful stream of water flowed. The cave was believed to be the gates to Hades. Several other shrines and temples stood here including this one to Caesar. The niches in the wall held images of the gods Pan, Echo and Hermes.
(click on image for larger size)
Ephesians 4:27-30: The Devil or The Holy Spirit will have a foothold and room to move. (click on image for larger size)

Someone to Quote

"Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society's own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender.  - A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

Something to Ponder

When Ulfilas brought the Bible to the Goths around 250 AD he purposely left out First and Second Kings because he didn’t think the warrior culture of the Goths should be encouraged by the wars of the Kings of Judah/Israel.

Here’s a Fact

An impression in clay (called a bulla) made in the 700's BC from a seal says in Hebrew: "Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz, King of Judah." The clay impression is1/2 inch in diameter and has a winged scarab beetle similar Egyptian art. According to the Bible Hezekiah (715-686 BC) was the son of Ahaz who ruled Judah. (details)


He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly."
Proverbs 5:23

Coach’s Corner

Live in strength today and with hope for the future. 

Luke 24
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Has Risen
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
On the Road to Emmaus
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast.
18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.
20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
The Ascension of Jesus
50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Luke 5
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man
17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus Questioned About Fasting
33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”
John 1:15-51
New International Version (NIV)
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
John the Baptist Denies Being the Messiah
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
John Testifies About Jesus
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
John’s Disciples Follow Jesus
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

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