In an article posted on Strike the Root, Lawrence Ludlow says that Jesus’ teaching on taxes was a prank on the Pharisees, and that no one gets the joke.
First, Jesus was clearly ridiculing his accusers when he led them to assume that the presence of Caesar’s likeness and inscription on the coin proved that Caesar held a title of ownership to that coin and that the tax should be paid. One might just as well claim that the picture of a Quaker wearing a blue hat on every box of Quaker Oats oatmeal “proves” that the Quaker owns every box of oatmeal that features his likeness on it. Likewise, the image of George Washington on a U.S. quarter dollar does not mean that George owns every such coin or that we should pay taxes because of it. It seems obvious that Jesus was making the same kind of joke with reference to the denarius.