Arguing About Politics – Gospel in Life

Arguing About Politics

Tim Keller |  July 15, 2001

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  • Doctrine
Mark 12:13-17
RS 133-3


In the Bible, we often see people engaging Jesus in debate or argument about different theological or moral issues. In this passage, we see religious leaders attempting to nail down Jesus’s politics. In this sermon, we will see 1) A revolutionary question; 2) A revolutionary answer; and then 3) A revolution of revolutions.

Mark 12:13–17

When the Pharisees and Herodians try to trap Jesus with a tricky question about paying taxes to Caesar, Jesus doesn’t fall into their trap. Instead, He tells them to give to Caesar what belongs to him, and to God what belongs to God. Some people think Jesus’ answer was about politics, but it was really about something much bigger. He was pointing out that we need to put God before anything else, even the government.

1. A Question with Big Implications

The question about taxes was a serious one. It was asking Jesus to take a stand on a hot political issue of the day. If Jesus said not to pay taxes, it could start a revolt and get him in trouble with the Roman authorities. But if he said to pay taxes, it might look like he was ignoring the suffering and injustice in the world. His answer would reveal if he was a radical leader bringing in God’s kingdom.

2. An Answer that Turns the Tables

Jesus’ answer to the tax question was a surprise. He said to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. He was saying that it’s okay to fulfill our duties to the government, like paying taxes. But he was also saying that our ultimate loyalty should be to God, not to any political party or leader. Jesus was calling for a revolution that would address real problems like poverty and injustice, not just political ones.

3. A Different Kind of Revolution

Jesus’ revolution is different from the world’s revolutions. The world values power, success, comfort, and being recognized. But in God’s kingdom, things like poverty, hunger, sadness, and being persecuted are valued. Jesus, our King, shows us that it’s more important to serve others, especially those who are often overlooked. His death and resurrection not only give us spiritual riches and comfort, but they also challenge us to change our political views, to be more moderate, cooperative, and willing to compromise.



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