Will a Penny Be Enough?

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 5
In Bible days, one penny was what a man was paid for a whole day’s work. I think it must have had more value than a penny does now. But it looked much the same as the little copper penny you see today, and it had a picture on it too.
Maybe your penny has a picture of Abraham Lincoln. The penny in our story today had a different man’s picture on it, but I won’t tell you whose picture it was. Read the story and see if you can find out.
There were clever men in Jerusalem when Jesus was there. Some of these men, who were called Pharisees, thought they had made a trap that would catch Jesus and get Him into trouble. Among the many miracles Jesus had done, He had fed great crowds of people and had healed everyone who came to Him. And He did these wonderful things without charging anybody or accepting a penny of donation from anyone. Why did they not want Him?
They asked Jesus a trick question, and here is what they asked Him: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
Jesus could see right into the hearts of those Pharisees, just as He can see into yours. And He knew they were trying to trick him with the question. His answer was, Show Me a penny. Then He asked them, Whose picture and engraving is on this penny?
They answered, Caesar’s. Everything around them that day was a reminder that Caesar was in control. Caesar is dead now and his country is not in power. But our Jesus is alive in heaven, and the day is coming when the kingdoms of this world will become His kingdoms!
Jesus answered the Pharisees’ question, Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.
The Pharisees were silent. They had nothing to say, but they did not change their minds. They had already decided to put Jesus to death.
You and I were not there that day, but Jesus’ words are for us too — today. Give to God the things that are God’s. Remember, God is in control.
We pay our taxes, and that is quite right. Jesus is not asking for your pennies; He wants you yourself. Pennies will still be here after you are dead, but if you belong to Jesus, you are His forever! All the pennies in the world will not pay what you are worth to Him. He loves you so much that He willingly went to Calvary’s cross to die for you.
You may be clever enough to make a trap for someone, but nothing can change the Word of God. John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Is there such a thing as perishing? God says so, and He did not write the word “die” in that verse, because “perish” means far more than dying. It means to suffer eternal punishment after death.
There is only one God who can give you everlasting life, and He is the God who loves you so much that He gave His only Son to die for you. The Pharisees did not want His Son. Do you?
Did you find the answer to the question about whose picture was on the penny they showed to Jesus?
Think About God’s Word!
1. How did Jesus answer the Pharisees’ trick question?
2. Romans 3 mentions something else that stops people from arguing. What is it?
Project: What are some other occasions when the Lord Jesus skillfully closed the mouths of His enemies by His wise answers?