“Tiberius Caesar, Son of the Divine Augustus, Augustus.”
“The inscription called Tiberius the son of a god, Augustus, and also “Augustus” himself. The primarily religious title “Augustus” meant “majestic.” Tiberius was a step-son and (later) an adopted son of the (so-called) divine Caesar Augustus, but this coin claimed the “divine” role / title “Augustus” had passed down to Tiberius. “Augustus was divine, and now I his son am Augustus.” Not a son genetically, he claimed to be a son in divinity. Jesus was NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTION ABOUT TAXES (TRIBUTE).
“The men who came to Jesus with this question thought they were putting Him in a bind, that whatever He answered they would have Him in trouble. Either they could denounce Him to the Romans as a rebel for encouraging non-payment, or they could denounce Him to the people as a supporter of Rome, if He said to pay the unpopular tax. He would either be arrested or the people would rise against Him. Either way, they had Him now.”
“That idolatrous coin? That is Caesar’s, and he can have it — God certainly doesn’t need it. People still might not want to pay the tax — but they won’t fault a Teacher for showing the idolatry and rebuking hypocrisy. “They marvelled” — not only had their perfect trap failed to trap the Master, He had turned it back on their own hypocrisy.”
“The text looks different when we understand just how idolatrous was the tribute money, just how much authority those who used the coins were conceding to Caesar. When they accepted those coins in trade and business transactions, they were granting value to an idolatrous coin that claimed them as subjects. Remember that when reading the passage:”
16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
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.
22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
Meaning of superscription: