In his response to the first of his enemies questions Jesus provided the classic biblical teaching about the authority of civil government and the right relationship of the believer to the state. In his reply to the second question Jesus taught the authority and complete reliability of the Bible in everything it teaches. When we speak of the Bible's authority, infallibility and inerrancy, and we are ascribing these qualities to it because, as Jesus taught, the Bible is the very Word of God.

Yesterday we discussed the three non-biblical positions on the authority of God and of Caesar. Today we discover the biblical approach to these authority figures.

4. The authority of God and Caesar but with God in the dominant position. The last option is biblical Christianity: God and Caesar, but with God in the dominant position. It was the position Jesus articulated when he said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is Gods.”

I have often pointed out that Jesus’ answer to the question about taxes suggests four options that are useful in grasping the nature of the states authority and the rightful limits of a Christians compliance with it. These options are: 1) God alone as an authority with the authority of Caesar denied, 2) Caesar alone as an authority with the authority of God denied, 3) the authority of both God and Caesar but with Caesar in the dominant position, and 4) the authority of God and Caesar but with God in the dominant position.

The die is cast. Jesus has broken with Judaism, and the authorities are seeking for a way to get rid of him. They can't just kill him, however; that would be murder. They have to catch him in a teaching they can construe as blasphemy, which was a capital offense. Or, at the very least, they have to discredit him before the people. This is what lies behind the three attempts to trap Jesus that we find in Matthew 22. They are expressed as questions: 1) Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?; 2) How can rational persons believe in a physical resurrection?; and 3) What is the greatest commandment?

At this point the parable seems to be over. But it is not, and I am glad, because the Lord goes on to give a much needed warning in the account of the man who came to the feast without a wedding garment. I say it is needed because there is sometimes a kind of inverse pride found in the disadvantaged which imagines that, because they are not rich or famous or powerful but poor and unknown and weak, therefore, they deserve the king’s bounty and can come before him in their own character and on the basis of their own “good” works. Jesus exposed that error by showing how the man who came to the feast without a wedding garment was immediately confronted by the king and then thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (v.13).