Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 22:15-22

A Roman Coin

This is our thirteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will focus on how Jesus responded to the Pharisees when they tried to trap Him.

Matthew 22:15-22

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.


Both the Pharisees and the Herodians (mainly Sadducees) wanted to trap Jesus in His words as to paying taxes. If he said no to their question of paying taxes, the Herodians would charge Him with treason against Rome. And if He said yes, the Pharisees would accuse Him of disloyalty to the Jewish nation. His answer amazed them both. He said to pay the tax to Caesar because it was his anyway (according to the stamp on the coin), but all the things that are God’s should go to God, which would include the hearts and souls of people. Caesar cannot touch people’s souls. They have the mark of His image on them.


No one can touch a person’s soul. All are created in His image and belong to Him. We all have His mark on us and so all should give themselves to Him.

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