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) When they had handed one to him, he asked his enemies whose head and title were on the coin, and they had to reply that it was Caesar’s.Whereupon Jesus said, ‘well, then, if it’s Caesar’s, give it back to Caesar.

Some passages in the New Testament, even those with which we might be very familiar, can pose difficulties to our understanding – we can sometimes feel like we are not ‘getting the point’.

Yet, by a different title, each serves the personal and social vocation of the same human beings.

This service can be more effectively rendered for the good of all, if each works better for wholesome mutual cooperation, depending on the circumstances of time and place.’ (The Church in the World, 76) Looking in more detail at this passage of the New Testament, some people have drawn a further conclusion: that Jesus was implying that he and his fellow citizens did have obligations to the Roman authorities in acknowledgement of the public benefits which they received from Caesar’s rule.

The gospel tells us that Jesus was well aware of what his opponents were up to, and knew how to handle them.

The annual poll tax on all adults was one denarius, equivalent to a day’s wages, and it had to be paid in Roman coinage.

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