Gospel of Thomas - Chapter 101

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Saying 100

(100) They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, "Caesar's men demand taxes from us." He said to them, "Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine."


Mt 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
Mt 22:18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
Mt 22:19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
Mt 22:20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
Mt 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

The literal teaching is the same, so it cannot be said that this is a Gnostic teaching. Observe the differences:

Thomas references a gold coin vs. a denarius which was a silver coin and the name means 'ten asses' from a laborer's ability to load ten asses with goods he harvested in the day. It was probably a day's wage. Matthew's silver coins were a reference to Jesus in the flesh (silver) and Thomas's gold references Jesus in deity or resurrection.

The image or inscription is examined in Matthew to see who owns it, but Thomas's gold coin belongs to Jesus as God, which is being demanded by the tax collectors. This is the cause for Thomas's addition, "give me what is mine". No one who understands the spiritual meaning is expected to apply it to the literal objects.

Though all things belong to God, we still do what is required of us by government because God established government. The Christian recognizes that the money paid through taxes is paid as if it were given to God.

Go to Gospel of Thomas - Chapter 102