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MEETINGS

Friday, September 25

Is it lawful to pay head tax to Caesar or not?​—Matt. 22:17.

The party followers of Herod who raised this issue hoped that if Jesus denounced the tax, he might be accused of sedition. If Jesus said that taxation was a necessary burden, he could lose the support of his followers. Jesus was careful to remain neutral on the taxation issue. Of course, Jesus knew that corruption was common among tax collectors. But Jesus did not want to get sidetracked, diverted from the much more important issue. That was God’s Kingdom, which would be the real solution. He thereby set the example for all his followers. They should avoid becoming involved in political issues, no matter how right or just a certain cause might seem. Christians seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. They do that instead of forming strong opinions about, or speaking out against, certain unjust practices. (Matt. 6:33) Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have succeeded in moving away from strong political views that they once held. w18.06 6 ¶9-11


(Matthew 22:17)  Tell us, then, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay head tax to Caesar or not?”
(Matthew 6:33)  “Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.


9, 10. (a) How did Jesus’ enemies try to get him involved in a political issue? (b) What do we learn from Jesus’ response? (See opening picture.)

9 Jesus’ enemies tried to trap Jesus by getting him to take sides on a taxation issue. The tax in question was the “head tax,” a tax of one denarius levied on Roman subjects. (Read Matthew 22:16-18.) The Jews especially resented this tax. It represented their subjection to Rome. The “party followers of Herod” who raised this issue hoped that if Jesus denounced the tax, he might be accused of sedition. If Jesus said that taxation was a necessary burden, he could lose the support of his followers.

10 Jesus was careful to remain neutral on the taxation issue. “Pay back . . . Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God,” he said. (Matt. 22:21) Of course, Jesus knew that corruption was common among tax collectors. But Jesus did not want to get sidetracked, diverted from the much more important issue. That was God’s Kingdom, which would be the real solution. He thereby set the example for all his followers. They should avoid becoming involved in political issues, no matter how right or just a certain cause might seem. Christians seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. They do that instead of forming strong opinions about, or speaking out against, certain unjust practices.​—Matt. 6:33.

11. How can we in a positive way channel our desire for justice?

11 Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have succeeded in moving away from strong political views that they once held. “After taking social studies classes at the university, I developed radical views,” says a sister in Great Britain. “I wanted to champion the rights of black people, since we had suffered so much injustice. Although I was good at winning arguments, I still ended up feeling frustrated. I did not realize that the causes of racial injustice had to be uprooted from people’s hearts. When I began to study the Bible, however, I realized that I had to start with my own heart. And it was a white sister who patiently helped me to make the journey. Now I am serving as a regular pioneer in a sign-language congregation, and I am learning to reach out to all kinds of people.”


The content is owned by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania jw.org extracted directly from their website

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