As teenagers, it can sometimes be challenging to connect our faith with real-life situations. One topic that is not often discussed in church settings but is relevant to our lives is taxes. Taxes are a part of our everyday world, and they can raise questions about our faith and how we navigate our responsibilities as citizens. In today’s Sunday school lesson, we will explore Matthew 22:15-22 and understand what Jesus teaches us about faith and taxes.
Bible Reading 1: Matthew 22:15-17
“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his talk. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?'”
- The Pharisees and the Herodians were trying to trap Jesus by asking Him about paying taxes to Caesar.
- The Pharisees were religious leaders who opposed Roman rule, while the Herodians supported it.
- They wanted to force Jesus into a controversial answer, creating division among the people.
Bible Reading 2: Matthew 22:18-21
“But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.'”
- Jesus recognized their deceitful motives and exposed their hypocrisy.
- He asked for a denarius, which was a Roman coin used to pay taxes.
- By acknowledging the image of Caesar on the coin, Jesus affirmed the responsibility to pay taxes to the government.
- However, He also emphasized the need to give to God what belongs to Him, implying that our ultimate allegiance is to God.
Youth Group Discussion Questions
- Why do you think the Pharisees and the Herodians wanted to trap Jesus with this question?
- How do you feel about paying taxes? Do you see it as a civic duty or an unfair burden?
- In what ways can we balance our responsibilities as citizens while remaining faithful to God?
- Can you think of any examples of situations where our faith might be challenged by our obligations as citizens?
Youth Group Game: “Faith and Tax Mixer”
In this game, each participant will be given a scenario that involves a moral or ethical dilemma related to taxes. They will have to discuss and decide how they would respond based on their faith. Encourage openness and thoughtful insights during the discussions.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for teaching us through your Word. Help us to understand how our faith applies to every aspect of our lives, including our responsibilities as citizens. Guide us in navigating the tension between our earthly obligations and our devotion to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Remember, this lesson is meant to encourage discussion and reflection, so allow the teenagers to express their thoughts and opinions openly. Let the lesson be a starting point for them to explore their faith in relation to the world around them.