“Give your taxes to Caesar” and the Jewish crowd of followers would have walked away from him.
“Don’t give to Caesar the taxes” and the Romans would have stepped in and he would have been in danger of sedition.
“But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.” (Matthew 22 v 18-22)
Jesus asks for a coin on which the image of Caesar was printed on each of them. They belonged to Caesar.
“Give Caesar’s coins to Caesar and give to God what is God’s”. That is his answer.
And suddenly the point is actually not about Caesar, but it is God.
Where is the image of God? Everyone knew they had been created in the image of God. Stamped on their hearts was God’s image. So Jesus calls them to surrender their hearts to the one whose image is all over them. He still calls us to do that today.
And they were amazed! As we are!