The Pharisees mock Jesus in today’s Gospel passage by saying “[Y]ou are not concerned with anyone's opinion, for you do not regard a person's status.” They are mocking Jesus’ disregard for the opinion of the world, yet their statement is completely backwards. Jesus is concerned with opinions, but the opinion of God the Father outranks all the rest. Jesus does regard each person’s status, but Jesus regards every human person as a creature in relationship to Himself their Creator. Jesus has priorities and perspective.
Jesus respects the earthly authority of the Emperor in Rome, the civil authority at the time. But Jesus knows that this earthly authority has no claim over His own Lordship. God outranks any king, president, emperor, or grand poohbah. The Pharisees are attempting to set Jesus against Caesar so that they might use the power of Caesar against Jesus. They are playing politics. Jesus is so far above politics that He is not threatened by any state or law. No earthly authority can outrank Jesus’ Divine Authority. He is the Author of Life.
Let us bear this in mind as we fight against unjust earthly laws that would limit the dignity of the human person. Our respect and deference to earthly authority ends when that authority opposes God. God has endowed us with dignity as creatures made in His own Image. We are adopted Sons and Daughters of God from conception to natural death. The dignity of every human person is guaranteed by the Authority of God, not by any political entity. We fight to protect the dignity of every human person because every human person belongs to God, and no earthly authority—no individual, mob, or organization—has the right to destroy an innocent life. Render unto God first; Caesar is a distant second.