WHO IS CAESAR?
The Phariseerian disciples alongside Herodians came to meet Jesus about the divine appropriateness of tax payment to Caesar (Matt22:16). Their intent was not get validation from Christ but a means to exploit his sayings (Matt22:15). There was a plan to blackmail him with whatever he says. These they thought amidst themselves, unknown to them Christ knew even the thoughts of their heart (Matt22:18). In the most cultured manner, they put forward their question; is it right to pay tribute to Caesar or not? (Matt22:17). They wanted to know Christ’s stand on government; the economics of things and earthly governance. How Christ will bridge the gap between his acclaimed Kingship and earthly authority. Whose image is on the tribute money asked Christ?(Matt22:20). Caesar’s, they responded in unison. Give to Caesar what belongs to him and to God what his due him, Christ concluded (Matt22:21).
Caesars were Roman emperors, they were the paramount heads of the ancient Roman empire. The rule of Caesars extended to other parts of the world as Rome was then a world power. It was why Augustus Caesar ordered the world to be taxed, he had the capacity (Luke2:1). The name Caesar was not a title like Pharaoh, it was a brand strategy by the Caesar dynasty. A perception of royalty to the common man. Once you hear or see Caesar, you perceive chivalry. The way you respond when you see the Color Red, you think Coca-Cola, Target(Wal-Mart’s rival) and Vodafone (Britain’s biggest Telecom Brand). Caesar was the brand communication voice of class and distinction in Rome. The Caesars had their rule from BC to AD. They started the Julio-Claudian dynasty and the first of them was Julio Caesar, a consul of the Roman republic. He started the rise of the Roman empire, envisioning to be the first emperor. He was murdered by members of his Senate.
Augustus Caesar (An adopted son of Julio) became the first Roman emperor in 27BC. The Roman empire didn’t function under a monarchy system. It was a mixed leadership consultation. The sitting emperor nominates a relative to succeed him, while the Senate will scrutinize the candidates competence. Julio had named Octavian (Augustus) his nephew as heir to the Senate. Augustus rose to power after conquering the murderers of Julio in a civil war. He designed the constitutional framework of the Roman empire; vesting power on the Senate, magistrates and legislative assembly. He however was conferred with dictatorial powers, leading to conquest and dominance of the whole world.
Tiberius Caesar was the next Roman emperor, a stepson to Augustus. He was a gloomy person, who always avoided the company of men. Unwilling to become emperor, obliging to the demands of his step father. He would later abdicate the role. He was emperor when John the Baptist started his prophetic and baptism ministry (Luke3:1-3). He was the Caesar the Jews claimed Jesus contested Kingship with, forcing Pilate to order Christ’s crucifixion.
Then we had Caligula Caesar, a friend of Herod Agrippa1 (The guy who got smitten with maggots). Caligula didn’t have prominence in the scriptures but his authoritarian works were heard off. He deposed Herod Antipas(The one who beheaded John) for Agrippa I, on the grounds of confutation; which he viewed as disrespect to his eminence.
Then, there was Claudius. He ordered that all Jews should leave Rome (Acts18:2). During his reign did Agabus foretell the famine to hit the land as led by the spirit (Acts11:28).
Finally, there was Nero. The Last of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. The apostolic massacre guy. He killed Christians without primafasie. He needed no evidence to inflict terror on a believer, the Faith had you guilty. He was a tyrant, who murdered people at his exotica; killed his mother and poisoned his brother. He had a great appetite for execution. He used Christians as fuel for camp fire nights at Roman games. Nero Caesar was the Emperor Paul appealed to, while standing trial before King Agrippa II and Festus (Acts25). This is the sojourn of the Caesar dynasty in ancient Rome.
Caesar represents government and authority. It could be monarchy, democratic, military, gerontocracy or free system. Caesar represents the most powerful person in governance, with Authority vested on him by legislative and constitutional framework. He dictates economy, national imagery, regional dominance, political stability and citizens freedom. He regulates all activities within his sovereignty, from economic, spiritual, recreational, media and across border relationship.
Tiberius somber nature, was why he never contended John’s preaching in the wilderness. He was not much interested in governance, so he didn’t legislate against gospel dissemination by John the Baptist. Tiberius was too buried in his emotional dilemma(gloominess) to think of John’s evangelical works and usage of the Jordan. He could have stopped the use of Jordan for Baptism on account of pollution and threats to aquatic animals. Jordan was a national resource, beyond the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas (Tetrach of Galilee). Tiberius never waded into the Jesus Crucifixion protest. He heard on all media platforms that Jesus claimed kingship. It was a matter of the empire, should not have been handled by Pilate or Herod. An insurrection in view. Christ claiming kingship, while there was a sitting emperor. It never interested him, having lost his son(Drusus).
Caligula showed favoritism by deposing Antipas for his nephew, Agrippa. Both Herods recriminated before the excellence of the Emperor. Caligula didn’t allow legal proceedings or Judicial hearing, he pronounced judgement in favour of his friend. This was a show of bias, with predicate on authority. He displayed why he was emperor. Claudius instructed that all Jews should leave Rome on account of aggressive evangelism and potential unrest brewing between Romans and Jews. Quite similar to the campaign threats Issued by US president elect to Muslims, Migrants and Blacks. If he has the power, he will use it.
Caesar is the man with veto powers to take unilateral decisions based on constitutional framework. Caesar decides the living standard, living cost, quality of life and employment opportunities for youths. Caesar decides educational value and cost, health Care availability and the presence of energy in your house. Rome suffered under Nero because he was corrupt, which led to unrest and his exile. The corruptive nature of leaders has muffled the dreams and voices of citizens of many countries. Herod Agrippa murdered James (Brother of John the beloved), Claudius watched from the capital city, though the country used federal laws. Caesar would determine the success of the church, that’s why China and North Korea muffled the Christian voice. The government of both countries legislates against public acknowledgement of Christianity. A certain Caesar emerged in Turkey and the body of Christ lost a 95% Christian nation to Islam. The seven churches of Revelation are in the region of Turkey, Constantinople et al. Herod the great, not being an emperor, attempted the murder of the messiah.
Conclusively we can see the relevance, influence and power of the government to every aspect of humanity. World leaders are making anti-Christ decrees and we still underestimate the role of Caesar in Christianity. If we are to be successful in enterprise, the state must create an enabling platform for business to thrive and if the gospel must spread, like Tiberius allowed John, the government must legislate in favour of the church while Christians oblige to state laws. Nevertheless, Caesar is Significant in reaching the world for Christ.
To access the life of a Victor. You must have a relationship with Jesus. Confess Jesus as your Lord and savior today, believing he died for your sins and resurrected for your justification.