Last Friday we observed that Jesus himself knew that the sons of the kingdom were free from the Temple tax (Matt. 17:24-27), but to avoid scandal his followers were to pay the tax. Paul goes one step further: he thinks taxes should be paid because of order.
So Romans 13:6-7. He roots his comment about taxes in the need to maintain order by paying whatever is due: taxes, revenue, respect and honor.
Wright suggests, from Tacitus, Annals 13:50-51, that taxation was being protested at this time. He also suggests this payment of everything has to do with respect for an office, while retaining the right to protest a person unworthy of that office. (Paul’s own example before the Jewish authorities is an example.)
Wright closes this section of Romans with a comment about 9/11, contending that the American appeal to Romans 13 after this terroristic act was inappropriate. He argues for an international justice system to navigate such waters, but observes that the powerful nations don’t want to be held accountable to a justice system they can’t control. Romans 13 doesn’t help, he says. But Paul’s letter does help for it sets God’s justice, freedom and peace over against those of Caesar.