Mark 12:13-17

Talks for Growing Christians

The Pharisees and Herodians Question the Lord

Mark 12:13-17

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Lesson Number 50

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's.
  2. Render to God the things that are God's.

Practical Application

  1. Let's try to give creative biblical answers to the critic.
  2. Let's remember that we are God's coinage.


  1. Who were "they" in Mark 12:13?
  2. Who were the Pharisees? Who were the Herodians? Were these two groups normally in agreement with one another?
  3. How did they try to trap the Lord? How did the Lord answer them?
  4. What did the Lord mean, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's...?" What does this mean to us?
  5. Why should we try to give creative biblical answers to critics?
  6. What does it mean that we are God's coinage?


  1. The Jewish leaders and the authorities.
  2. The Pharisees were a religious party, orthodox Jews. The Herodians were a political party, supporting the Herods who were in power in Palestine (and since the Herodian dynasty received it authority from Rome, they in turn supported Rome). Normally these two groups were poles apart when it came to religious and political issues, but here we see them joining forces against the Lord.
  3. They began with insincere flattery, then they asked about paying taxes. They thought they had Him in a dilemma. If He answered, "Yes," He would alienate the common people, who hated paying taxes to Rome. If He answered, "No," they could accuse Him of rebelling and opposing Rome, and have Him arrested. The Lord Jesus answered wisely by asking for a penny, the price of the tax. Read His answer in Mark 12:17.
  4. If you are living in the Roman Empire, using Roman coinage, using Roman roads, and living under the protection of the Roman government, then you should pay your taxes. It means that we are to be subject to our governing authority. See Romans 13:1 and Titus 3:1.
  5. There are always those who would try to put us in a dilemma, even as the leaders tried to do with Jesus. Critics of the Christian faith would try to make us look like fools. If we have creative answers like Jesus did, we can thwart their attempts to discredit Christianity. We need to prepare and think ahead, and we need to pray. Read Hebrews 4:16 and James 1:5.
  6. It means that God's image is stamped on us. We were made in the image of God; we are His coinage, His property, and we are to represent Him and be available for His service.


  1. Have you ever been the object of agreement between normally opposing parties because of your stand for Christ? How did you react? How should you react?
  2. Do you have some biblical and creative answers for critics? See the answer to question #5.


  1. Ponder, "You are God's coinage." Does this mean as much to you as it should?

Key Verses

  • "Jesus answered them, 'Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17)

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