Show Me the Money (the Denarius)!

Bust of Tiberius Caesar

Bust of Tiberius Caesar

By Rabbi Jack Zimmerman,
Staff Evangelist for
Jewish Voice

Rabbi Jack continues a thorough discussion about the denarius coin in part five of this fascinating six-part series about whether or not the Jews of Yeshua’s day should pay taxes to Caesar or not (as it is explained in Luke 20:20-26).

Let’s go back to the main question here.  The spies sent by the teachers of the law asked, “Yeshua (Jesus), is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not” (Luke 20:22)?

They think they have Him cornered because if Yeshua says, “Yes, pay the taxes,” then He’ll be seen by the Jews who welcomed Him not as a Messiah, not as a Deliverer, but as a coward who caved into Rome. As a result, the Jews would become discouraged and powerless, which is exactly what Rome wants.

On the other hand, if Yeshua says, “No, Rome has no right to collect taxes and you don’t have to pay them,” He has committed treason for inciting His fellow Jews to break the law. Then He would be handed over to the Roman authorities, in which case the Jews would become more discouraged and more powerless, and that’s exactly what Rome wants.

Either way, the priests figure, “We got Him!” It’s what they were hoping for, which is why it says in Luke 20:20, “They hoped to catch Yeshua in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.”

But then the text goes on to say that He saw right through their plan. The next thing He said to them was, “Show me a denarius.” Actually, the account in Mark 12:15 notes that He said, “Bring me a denarius and let me see it.”

Why did Yeshua need to see it? Because He didn’t have this coin. He’s from Galilee; they don’t make it there. But there’s another reason that He wanted to see the coin. Who does He ask to bring Him the coin? The Torah teachers.

Do you see what He just did? Yeshua hasn’t even gotten around to answering the question yet, and already He’s pulled one over on them big time. This is a “gotcha” moment. If the light bulb hasn’t gone on now, it will in a second because the fact that they are actually bringing Him this coin shows that these Torah teachers are already putting themselves into sin because Torah says you can’t even handle a graven image in the first place.

If you think they have already dug themselves into a hole, get ready. After Yeshua gets through with them, they are going to be digging an even bigger one.

Watch Jack talk about the denarius coin on YouTube:

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Jewish Voice Ministries International

Book Rabbi Jack to talk to your church or congregation. Here’s our Speaker’s Schedule to find out when Jack is available. Also, if you want to know when the key Jewish holidays are, check out these Jewish Voice speaking dates.

Rabbi Jack’s Paying Taxes in Yeshua’s Day Blog Series:

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