Labels#2. “Tax Dodger.”

Labels#2. “Tax Dodger.”

Smiling Scandinavians discussing the benefits of high taxation is a sight to behold. One stereotypically tall, blonde, attractive lady beamed and said, “I am glad to pay even more taxes if it means that we can help more people.”

This is, of course, in stark contrast to the prevailing negativity towards taxes in most other countries.

I have met Christians who have thought long and hard about taxes. Though they pay them, they would not if they could legally avoid doing so. Their problem is one of conscience; they object to paying governments for the systematic killing of the innocent and the feeble.

One day, the Apostle Peter found himself cornered by the tax collectors. “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” they asked (Matthew 17:24). “Yes, he does,” Peter replied (Matthew 17:25).

We must take it at face value that Peter’s answer indicated that Jesus paid all taxes expected of him. However, being the Son of God, Jesus didn’t have to pay the tax because his Father is the King. Instead, Jesus chose to pay the tax so as not to “offend” the powers that be (Matthew 17:27).

Jesus’ enemies tried to put him into a bind. If he said he supported Roman taxes it put him at odds with Jews who hated Roman occupation, and if he said he opposed Roman taxes it put him at odds with the Roman authorities. Thus, his famous quote: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s” (Luke 20:25).

Even though Jesus paid all his taxes, and persuaded none to avoid them, he was labelled a ‘Tax Dodger’ anyway. At his trial, the Jewish leaders took Jesus before the Roman Governor, Pilate, “and they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King”” (Luke 23:2).

Jesus paid all his taxes—so must we!

John Staiger

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