Testing a King: Imagio Dei

Coinage1An Underlying Thought. Jesus’ answer calls into question the basic presupposition behind their question, that there is an essential incompatibility between loyalty to the governing authority and loyalty to God. This was precisely Judas the Galilean’s position as explained by Josephus (War 2.118 and Ant. 18.23): to pay the tax was to tolerate a mortal sovereign in place of God. It was loyalty to God which was the basis for Zealot objections to Roman taxation, but Jesus, without reducing the demands of loyalty to God, indicates that political allegiance even to a pagan state is not incompatible with it. This is not a rigid division of life into the ‘sacred’ and the ‘secular’, but rather a recognition that the ‘secular’ finds its proper place within the overriding claim of the ‘sacred’. Continue reading