Lying under oath

At the trial of Saviour Yeshua the evidence for the prosecution was either a stupid lie of maga proportions or an inept distortion of the facts.  To be doubly sure that they would achieve a death sentence the court tried to paint the Nazarene as loyal to neither Caesar nor Moses.  Why they failed to get the facts about Yeshua’s sayings regarding taxes and his actual payment of tax we can attribute to a familiarity with lying under oath.

And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”

Luke 23:2

The evidence they could have gathered

The Nazarene actually performed a miracle to demonstrate that he was not an insurrectionist.  A fish had swallowed a coin and this question trap was the occasion of its relief, and the Nazarene gets to pay the tax due without earning the cash.

When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?”  He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?”  When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt.  “However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”

Matthew 17:24-27

The other slice of reality

Yeshua was never caught in a trap laid by the authorities.  So when they came with a question about paying taxes he was ready with “Show me the coin”.

“Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?”  But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?

“Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius.  And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”  They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”  And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.”

Matthew 22:17-22, NASB

We Christians are going to keep hearing scads of lies and twisted tales that try to make the case that faith in God is somehow inferior or unreasonable, but we are not the ones who have spent decades crafting a story that we are number one, nor have we tried to be the rulers of even an acre of earth. It is not farfetched to think of the more painful package of lies as coming from those who are followers of the Nazarene; people who want to reduce the eternal provision down to tools for fixing temporal things. Salvation is life from the dead! To help people get along in this life is not why Christ died. Just remember that what they did to him, they will do to us. Against these mountainous odds lying under oath may seem like molehills.