“You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax. What portrait is this? And whose inscription? Give to Casear what is Casear’s, and give to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:18-21)


Here Jesus is confronted by Pharisees who, together with men working with Herod (who had also murdered John the Baptist), were trying to get Jesus to say something that could be construed as illegal. Here is the situation:
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?" (Matt. 22:15-17)
 Jesus recognized they were trying to trap him:

“You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax."

After Jesus asked for a coin, they gave him a denarius. Upon the denarius lay the inscription of Caesar.

"What portrait is this? And whose inscription? Give to Casear what is Casear’s, and give to God what is God’s.”

Jesus’ answer not only allowed him to escape the trap, but it describes the consciousness how a servant of God may live within the physical world. 

Jesus is stating that the servant of God can follow the rules of society and the government; and can live in the world without being of the world. 

This is called detachment. One can utilize money and pay taxes and abide by the rules put forth by society.

The central tenet of God’s rules relates to loving God and serving God. This is Jesus' message. One can work within the rules of society, while focusing ones spirit upon loving and pleasing God. This means prayer and praise to God - even in the privacy of ones home. This is the example set by all the loving servants of God such as Moses, Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, Joshua, John the Baptist and Jesus. This is why the central instruction of both Jesus and Moses was:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38 and Deut. 6:5)
This means that spiritual activity is based upon this central instruction.

Today, ironically, organized ecclesiastical sectarianism has turned what belongs to God into means for personal profits and extravagance. Rather than being focused on pleasing God, the focus is upon using ritual ceremonies to maintain personal wealth. For this reason, the central activity among many sectarian churches today is raising money, and the sectarian teachers teach how to use Jesus to become wealthy.

Why do churches need so much money? They need money to pay the professional teachers who earn salaries for their teachings, and lavish living quarters. They see their occupations as a means of salary and luxury, turning the giving of others into a business.

The grotesque commercialism of 'miracles' is another example, with some places where supposed miracles took place charging people to see a special cross or an image on a wall that looks like the Virgin Mary. Or consider the selling of a ten-year old sandwich that supposedly maintains the shape of the Virgin Mary on Ebay for $28,000. This is not only grotesque: it is offensive.

Is this the example set by Jesus?  Did Jesus gain a salary for his teachings so that he could live in opulence? Did he charge people to come hear him speak, or pass around a money jar so people could pay him for his lectures? Surely Jesus could have organized a big temple and organizational structure if he wanted to. He could have had those crowds that gathered to hear him speak give him money or come work for him. But his objective was not to make money.

His objective was to serve the Supreme Being, and ask that people learn to love and serve God.

In fact, Jesus railed against the use of God's place of worship as a place of commercialism. He angrily turned over tables in the market on the temple grounds, saying:
"How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" (John 2:16).
In other words, if a place of worship is offered to God, then that belongs to God. It should not be turned into a marketplace. In the same way, service to the Supreme Being cannot be a paid, professional position.


 (For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus  - translated from the original Greek texts.)