"Render Therefore Unto Caesar The Things Which Are Caesar's"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 170

Context: Jesus, having entered Jerusalem, is confronted by the chief priests and Pharisees, who question His authority as the prophet that the people hold Him to be. When He teaches of the Kingdom of Heaven in a number of pointed parables, the Pharisees set out to trap Him by posing a question, the answer to which could involve Him in political difficulty. Asked whether or not it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus tells them to bring Him a coin, and then explains man's duty to the earthly kingdom of Caesar and to the spiritual kingdom of God. In no sense, however, does He mean them to be equal, for even Caesar is beneath God:

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And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left him, and went their way.

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