Jacob, the Father of Joseph
Jesus would not be coming to get rid of the tax man. He wanted good redemption, not good riddance.
and Jacob the father of Joseph
Luke 3:12-13; Luke 20:21-25
Major Stephen R. Kelly
Divisional Finance Secretary, Command Privacy & Information Security Officer
Southwest Ohio and Northeast Kentucky Division
USA Eastern Territory
The Last Five Generations of Jesus.
In 79 BC, Pompey invaded Judea and made it a Roman province. Jacob, Jesus’ paternal grandfather, would be the first generation to live under Roman hegemony. Rome installed garrisons to maintain order and squelch any uprisings. Jewish zealots would constantly plot rebellion that failed again and again.
The weak Hasmonean kings that had briefly ruled fell out of power. They never really had the power of kings anyway; that belonged to the High Priest and Sanhedrin. Rome would eventually install another line of puppet kings more pleasing to the Empire: the Herods, who were not Jewish but rather were from a place the Romans called Idumea. The Old Testament calls this land Edom. Thus, in addition to being under Rome’s thumb, the Jews suffered the indignity of having to call a man from Edom their “king.”
“In this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes,” is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. With the coming of the Roman Empire to Judea, you got plenty of both! Roman rule required a lot of money, and the Romans were very good at taxation.
When Jesus came, He was very early on considered the friend of tax collectors. He would have identified with William Booth’s “Go for souls and go for the worst!” He didn’t view anyone as unredeemable so long as they were willing to believe in Him. He specifically went looking for this sort of person.
That doesn’t mean He was okay with the practices of oppressive tax collectors who used their position to abuse people. “Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He replied, ‘Collect no more taxes than the government requires’” (Luke 3:12-13). So Jesus wasn’t against taxes, just abusive tax practices. Jesus’ forgiveness and holiness led Zacchaeus to volunteer, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
Jesus’ enemies tried to trap Him with questions of taxation
“Teacher,” they said, “we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” He saw through their trickery and said, “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” (Luke 20:21-15 NLT).
Jesus knew how corrupt the Roman government could be and where much of the tax money ended up. Nevertheless, He defended the legitimacy of the government collecting taxes.
Jesus also defended the practice in His day of a tax supporting the Temple. On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, "Doesn't your teacher pay the Temple tax?" Yes, He does, Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, "What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?"
"They tax the people they have conquered," Peter replied.
"Well, then," Jesus said, "the citizens are free! However, we don't want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us."
It’s interesting to note that Peter brought up a religious tax imposed by the Jews, while it looks like Jesus’ answer is addressing the Roman government taxation. Perhaps He was subtly commenting on the level of a cozy relationship between the Sanhedrin and Roman leadership – one tax is pretty much like the other.
Jacob lived in the day when the Romans started to tax Judea into poverty, and by Jesus’ day, it was no less oppressive. Today no one considers tax day to be a holiday worth celebrating. All the same, Jesus would not be coming to get rid of the tax man. He wanted good redemption, not good riddance.
Our Corporate Prayer
Father, we love You,
We worship and adore, You,
Glorify Thy name in all the earth.
Glorify Thy name, Glorify Thy name,
Glorify Thy name in all the earth.
May we live our lives in ways that truly please You and lift You to the highest Heaven. All we want to do is glorify Your name. And it's in Jesus' name we make this prayer. Amen.
Our Worldwide Prayer Meeting for November 16, 2023
Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Territory
Reaching Out to Others
Volunteer at a local not-for-profit agency that could really use your help in this season of Thanksgiving. And be sure to volunteer in Jesus' name.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
We would appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions on how to improve these devotionals. Please email comments to [email protected] We would love to hear from you.
Allen Satterlee, Lt. Colonel
Territorial Officer Development Secretary/Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development - USA Southern Territory