Matthew 22:20

ESV And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”
NIV and he asked them, 'Whose image is this? And whose inscription?'
NASB And He *said to them, 'Whose image and inscription is this?'
CSB "Whose image and inscription is this? " he asked them.
NLT he asked, 'Whose picture and title are stamped on it?'
KJV And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

What does Matthew 22:20 mean?

Jesus is answering a question from some Pharisees and Herodians even though He knows it is a trap (Matthew 22:17–18). The Pharisees assume they will win no matter what Jesus says. If He says it is unlawful to pay the tax, the Herodians may have Him arrested and handed over to the Romans as a rebel. If He tells oppressed Jewish people that paying the despised Roman tax is "lawful," hopeful followers who believe Messiah will overthrow Rome may abandon Him.

Jesus has asked for the only currency that can be used to pay the tax, a Roman silver denarius (Matthew 22:19). He is given one and asks about the image imprinted into it. Everyone there would have been very familiar with this. One side of the denarius had a profile of Tiberius Caesar, with a Latin inscription that read "Tiberius Caesar, son of the divine Augustus." On the other side of the coin was the image of Pax, the Roman goddess of peace with the words "High Priest."

The Jewish people found it offensive that they were made to carry the image of a foreign god around with them everywhere they needed money. An uprising over the issue in AD 6 had been severely crushed by the Romans.

Jesus will use one of the offensive aspects of the coin to make his point in the following verse (Matthew 22:21).
What is the Gospel?
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