Arguing About Politics – Tim Keller, Gospel in Life

In this sermon, Tim Keller analyzes the approach of Jesus towards politics and taxes.  Very profound.  The context is the famous scene in which the Pharisees ask Jesus if you should pay taxes.  Mark 12:13-17.

The points of this sermon are:

  1.  According to Jesus, how you respond to people depends on the audience. There are two audiences:
    1.1   Personal level:  A simple approach
    1.2   Political context with judges and lawyers and government: A complex rhetorical approach that uses questions in the response.  Our pastor calls this “Jesus Jujitsu”.  The question Jesus asked was “whose image is this?”
  2. When you are responding to government, judges, and lawyers, you use the political approach which is vague and rhetorical, just like Jesus.  The Pharisees wanted a Yes or No answer.  Instead of a Yes or No answer, Jesus first asked a question “Whose image is this” and then said answered “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”.  The reason Jesus advocated a complex approach to responding to politicians and lawyers is that these men usually want to trap you, enslave you, and hunt you like an animal by abusing language.  Below is how they do it:
    Legal Deception, Propaganda, and Fraud, Form #05.014
  3. The coin that Jesus asked for said: “Tiberius Caesar, Son of the god Augustus, Pontificus Maximus (high priest)”.  He asked whose image this is.  He said “render” to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the thing that are Gods.”  He basically said give to Caesar his own money and pay back what he deserves.  You cannot give Caesar what he REALLY wants:  ultimate allegiance and to accept his system of exclusion and discipline, but rather what he DESERVES, not according to what he says he deserves, but according to what God says he deserves.
  4. By responding in this way, Jesus introduced the first theory of limited government at that time.  Every king or governor said they were the choice of God.  Jesus said not to give rulers your allegiance.  This was revolutionary.
  5. Jesus took the following two approaches in answering the POLITICAL questions of the Pharisees:
    5.1 He resisted political simplicity.
    5.2 He resisted political complacency and primacy.
  6. Jesus advocated NEITHER acceptance (complacency) of the political system NOR revolt (primacy).
    6.1 The Essenes used complacency to abandon the political system.The Essenes were the ones who brought us the Dead Sea Scrolls.  They chose to not associate with or join the system.
    6.2  The Zealots were the revolutionaries who wanted to use political primacy to change the system.
  7.  Judas of Galilee was the precursor to Jesus who lead a similar revolt and revolution 25 years before Jesus.  It was a tax revolt and he was executed.  See:

We refer to the above as “Jesus Jujitsu”, which we summarize by saying to respond to questions designed to entrap with even more profound questions that are also a double edged sword.  More on “Jujitsu” below:

Jujitsu consists of using the opponent’s force or main source of strength against them.  The only way you can do that is to emulate their approach and then FORCE them to help you defeat the source of their strength.   Before you can use this tactic, you must thoroughly understand your enemy and study him and especially his strength carefully.

The Jujitsu approach was also taken by the famous Chinese Philosopher Sun Tzu, who came to earth BEFORE Jesus.

Jujuitsu or the Sun Tzu approach was also used by the Greek Philosopher Socrates with his Socratic Method and the use of questions and logic to trap people.

For more on the similarities between Judas of Galilee and Jesus of Galilee, see:

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