“…bring me a penny, that i may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, caesar’s. And jesus, answering, said unto them, render to caesar the things that are caesar’s and to god the things that are god’s.”
The front shows the inscription and portrait of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, whom is alluded to in the biblical passage. The back shows the emperor’s mother, Livia, seated on a throne. This coin was not called a ‘penny’ in ancient Roman times, as the proper name was a Denarius.
Tiberius ruled during the ministry of Jesus and it is most likely this coin – which was struck throughout his 23-year reign – which would have been the type handled by Jesus. Other references to coins appear in more than a dozen other passages, testifying to the importance of coinage in everyday life.