Reading for Today:
- Numbers 19:1–20:29
- Psalm 33:1-9
- Proverbs 11:22-24
- Mark 12:1-27
Numbers 20:8 Speak to the rock. Though God told Moses to take his rod with which He had performed many wonders in the past (Ex. 4:1–5; 7:19–21; 14:16; 17:5, 6), he was only to speak to the rock for it to yield water.
Numbers 20:10 you rebels. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses spoke to the people, accusing them of being rebels against God. By his actions, Moses joined the people in rebellion against God (see 27:14).
Psalm 33:3 a new song. I.e., a new occasion and impulse for expressing fresh praise to God (see Pss. 96:1; 98:1; 149:1).
Psalm 33:6 host. This designation refers to stellar and planetary bodies (see Is. 40:26; 45:12) and/or heaven’s complement of angels (see Ps. 103:20–22). The former emphasis is more prominent in the immediate context.
Mark 12:24 the power of God. The Sadducees’ ignorance of the Scriptures extended to their lack of understanding regarding the miracles God performed throughout the Old Testament. Such knowledge would have enabled them to believe in God’s power to raise the dead.
DAY 11: What is the Christian response to taxes?
In Mark 12:13, the Pharisees and the Herodians came together to try to catch Jesus off guard by a seemingly sincere question: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” The Herodians were a political party of Jews who backed Herod Antipas, who in turn was but a puppet of Rome. The Greek word for “taxes” was borrowed from the Latin word that gives us the English word “census.” The Romans counted all the citizens and made each one pay an annual poll tax of one denarius.
Jesus was fully aware of their hypocrisy, using a feigned interest in His teaching to hide their true intention to trap Him. “Why do you test Me?” (v. 15), He asked, and His response was to ask for a denarius. This small silver coin, minted by the Roman emperor, was the equivalent of a day’s wage for a common laborer or soldier. On one side of the denarius was likely the image of the current emperor, Tiberius. If the coin was minted by Tiberius, it would have read, “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, the son of the Divine Augustus” on one side and “Chief Priest” on the other.
Based on the image on the denarius, Jesus answered, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” The Greek word for “render” means “to pay or give back,” which implies a debt. All who lived within the realm of Caesar were obligated to return to him the tax that was owed him. It was not optional. Thus Jesus declared that all citizens are under divine obligation to pay taxes to whatever government is over them (see Rom. 13:1–7; 1 Pet. 2:13–17).
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.