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  1. Jesus Respected Governmental Authority! Pay Caesar's things to Caesar, and God's things to God. See Why? ??? While Jesus was teaching in the temple, opposers tried to put him in an impossible situation by asking whether people should pay taxes. If Jesus said no, his answer would have been deemed seditious and might even have fueled a spirit of revolt among downtrodden people eager to throw off the yoke of Roman oppression. But if Jesus said yes, many would have felt that he condoned the injustices they faced. Jesus’ answer was a masterpiece of balance. He said: “Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.” (Luke 20:21-25) So his followers have obligations to God and to Caesar—that is, the secular government. ??? Governments maintain a measure of order. They rightly require citizens to be honest, to pay taxes, and to uphold the law. What example did Jesus set in paying “Caesar’s things to Caesar”? Jesus had been raised by parents who obeyed the law even when doing so was inconvenient. For example, Joseph and his pregnant wife, Mary, traveled some 90 miles [150 km] to Bethlehem when a Roman census decree required it. (Luke 2:1-5) Like them, Jesus was law-abiding, even paying taxes that he did not really owe. (Matthew 17:24-27) He also carefully refrained from overstepping his authority in secular matters. (Luke 12:13, 14) ??? We might say that Jesus respected the machinery of government, although he refused to operate it. What, though, did Jesus mean about paying “God’s things to God”?The oldest available records show that Jesus’ followers in the ancient world did not take any active part in politics. Because they gave all their worship to the One whom Christ worshipped, they refused to pledge allegiance to Rome and its emperor, to take up military service, and to accept public office. They suffered all manner of hostility as a result. Their enemies sometimes accused them of hatred against mankind. Was that accusation a fair one? ??? For what, though, was Jesus primarily known? He was addressed, not as Healer, not as Feeder of Thousands, and not even as Resurrector of the Dead—although he did fill all those remarkable roles. But people called him Teacher, and rightly so. (John 1:38; 13:13) Jesus explained that a major reason he came to the earth was to teach people about the Kingdom of God.—Luke 4:43 ??? That is why Christ’s genuine followers devote themselves to the same work that occupied their Master when he walked the earth—teaching people the good news about God’s Kingdom. Jesus Christ commissioned all true Christians to teach people worldwide about that subject. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) ??? That incorruptible heavenly government will rule over all of God’s creation, according to the law of love. It will accomplish God’s will, even eliminating suffering and death. (Matthew 6:9, 10; Revelation 21:3, 4) No wonder the Bible refers to Christ’s message as “good news”!—Luke 8:1 ??? So if you are looking for the genuine followers of Jesus Christ on earth today, how can you identify them? Will they be mixing in the politics of this world? Or are they making their main mission the same as that of Jesus—preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God? ??? Would you like to learn more about the Kingdom of God and how it can affect your life now? We invite you to contact Jehovah’s Witnesses locally or to visit their official Web site, www.jw.org.
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