What did Jesus say about Paying Taxes

Bible Study Lesson on Matthew 22: 15-22

It is that time of a year. Do you know what is this season for? You might wonder it’s a ‘Spring’ season. Well, you are right, but it is also a time of ‘Tax Season’!s Around March-April of each year, most people in America file their taxes, many even waiting till the last moment! It is the time when many of us ask the question, why should I pay taxes? Why should I give my hard earned money to the government? Have you ever wondered what would be Jesus’ opinion about paying taxes? Did he actually pay taxes (Matthew 17:24-27) ? Did he ever talk about paying taxes, money issues? The answer is off course emphatic YES. He often preached about the money matters and financial decisions that we make every day. Today, we are going to look at a passage about Jesus’ view on Taxes.

Historical Background

In the first century Israel, the Jews were required to pay taxes to the Roman government. They hated this taxes because the money went to the treasury of Caesar and it was a constant reminder of their subjection to the Roman rule. There had been revolts against the Romans, but the Romans were ruthless in suppressing even the smallest of uprisings and rebellions. In times such as these, Jesus was asked the question about the taxes to Caesar. The Jewish religious party (the Pharisees) and the political party (the Herodians) did not like Jesus, they wanted to trap Jesus so that they can find a way to arrest him. So they came up with this foolproof question to catch Jesus off guard. Continue reading

The God who comforts As a Mother

Isaiah: 66:13 – As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.

While I was reading and meditating on this passage, I was little surprised by this verse. We generally view God as our Father, and rightly so. So when we think about God, it might be a little hard for us to think of Him as a mother.

John 4:24 says that God is the Spirit and those who worship him, must worship in truth and spirit. Thus this is not a matter of – he or she. But God uses this visual of a mother, or father for us. In other verses of the Bible, God uses different human relationships and calls us His friend, brother, or children. This is so that we know him and understand Him. In this way we also relate to Him as our personal God and enjoy intimate relation with Him. Continue reading

Fishers of Men – Peter’s encounter with Jesus

1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Why were people gathered around Jesus?

  • People were gathered to hear Jesus’ teaching. Jesus had been preaching the Kingdom of God throughout the region of Judea (Luke 4:44). By now, he was a well known Rabbi.
  • Jesus made an effective way to speak to the large crowd by preaching from Peter’s boat. The slopes at the lake shore made a natural amphitheater. Acoustic research has demonstrated that as many as 7000 people can hear a person speaking from the boat in the bay. (Reference)

Did Peter know Jesus?

Yes. It was not his first encounter with Jesus. He had met with Jesus before.

John 1:40-41 – Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).

What did Jesus ask Peter to do? Why was he hesitant?

  • To cast his net to catch the fish.
  • Peter and his partners had tried all night long to catch the fish. They could not catch any fish. He must have been very tired.
  • Peter was an experienced fisherman. He knew what is the best time to catch fish. (Jesus was son of Joseph, a carpenter by trade.)
  • Therefore, Peter agreed to try one more time hesitantly.

Continue reading

Parable of a Sower and Four Soils

When The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie was released, we went to see the movie with some of our friends. Every one of us enjoyed the movie. Later we were discussing about the movie and its Christian message, one of our friends did not really understand it. We then shared the representation of Christ in Aslan, the Lion. He was amazed by the deeper truths of the Narnia story.

We all like good stories. But many stories have deep, (often hidden) spiritual truths to them. If you are not careful, you can easily miss its meaning. Jesus also told many of such stories during His earthly ministry. They are also called ‘parables’. Today, we are going to look at one of the most famous of parables, parable of a Sower and four soils. Continue reading

Salt in the Bible – Verses and Meaning

  • Salt was used for seasoning and preserving food.
  • Salt was found in a great abundance on the shore of the dead sea.
  • Salt was also used with many different kind of offerings and sacrifices.

    Lev 2:13 – Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.

  • Every sacrifice was offered with salt as a symbol of preservation. Salt in this context symbolizes eternal preservation.

    Numbers 18:19 – …It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring. Continue reading

Yeast in the Bible – Devotional

Yeast is a bacterial fungus or mold. It works through and permeates the dough. It is used in the bible both as symbols of positive and negative influence.

Yeast as a positive growth

Matthew 13:33 – The kingdom of Heaven is like a yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.

Yeast as a symbol of uncleanliness or corruption

Leviticus 2:11 – Every grain offering you bring to the Lord must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in a food offering presented to the Lord. Continue reading

Diving into the Unknown – Faith that Pleases God

On 4th of July, 2012, we went for Skydiving near Chicago. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of our life. Skydiving jump was at thirteen thousand feet, with free fall for about 40-50 seconds at about 120 mph. To jump out of plane at such height requires great courage. Yet your tandem instructor is right there with you, holding you tightly with all the harnesses, gears and most importantly parachutes. (Two of them, one as a backup). To jump from the plane is to trust him for your life, believing that even if you will fail to open the parachute, he will do it at the right time. When you are at such a height in plane with open doors and when you look down, all your senses may tell you, “This is not a good idea!” Your common sense look for safety and security… Continue reading