Saturday, February 02, 2013

God, Politics & Taxes - Viewing the IRS Through the Eyes of Jesus

Many remain unsure about Caesar & God.
In this age of using Jesus Christ as a poster child for the nearest available cause to trumpet to the world, it's easy to take the glib merger of the holy and profane. I'm sure many could say the same about the hot button issue of taxes.

Over the past three decades, many personalities have given their take about taxes, even using The Bible coupled with the IRS Code and other Law as their main source for authority. If you have any familiarity with this august group, you will know that most of them are now shining their light of truth while enclosed within the authority of United States Federal Prison Bars.
Irwin Schiff - Now in prison
Larken Rose - Now in prison

Kent Hovind - Now in prison
From Irwin Schiff to Larken Rose to Kent Hovind, particular issues have been researched, debated and argued in open court (local, state, federal, IRS, etc) as well as the most public of forums, the World Wide Web, all with losses of time, money and, ultimately, freedom.

Instead of rehashing these arguments from the legal realm, I prefer to take a look at the words and actions of Jesus as recorded in the Bible in Matthew, chapter 17. And also, instead of looking at his response to the Pharisees about "rendering unto Caesar," a look at his ultimate response when His Disciples were asked by the Tax Collector, "Does your Master pay taxes?" is preferred.

After Peter answers for His Master, Jesus proceeds to give Peter a legal and historical reminder of current fundamental tax law under Rome (which has not changed to this day). Peter is then further reminded that, while Jesus generally paid taxes, Jesus was not obligated by law to pay this particular tax.

If you are familiar with this story, you know that Jesus sent Peter to catch the fish, remove the gold coins from the mouth and pay the tax for both of them.
Certain Roman Tax Law has not changed!
It definitely makes for interesting discussion the fact that Jesus was not legally required to pay this tax, yet payed it anyway. Many might be tempted to conclude that Jesus caved in to Roman barbarism and any subsequent ill effects of resisting and rebelling against the powers that be. The Word of God, however, does not leave us to guess or draw educated conclusions. Jesus specifically tells us why he payed the tax he did not owe.

Jesus paid a tax he did not owe in order to protect the Tax Collector from proceeding against Him unlawfully and suffering the legal consequences of his actions. Once again the summary wrath of Rome could be brought to bear, for the life of the Tax Collector was subject to forfeiture if caught violating the terms of the license they operated under. Rome was not known for their tenderness when dealing with violations of its Law, especially from its own Officers.

For this reason, Jesus took the highest road possible. Knowing what the Law stated and required from Him personally, He was well within the boundaries of the Law. And yet, to protect the Publican from any potential mistake and violation in the exercise of his Official duties, Jesus paid a tax not required of Him!

Think about that! How many are willing to rise to that level of action in their lives? Who would be willing to act in such a way to protect any IRS agent? Yet, Jesus is our example to follow. How many are serious about it?
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