Thursday, October 15, 2020

October 16 - Friday prior to Pentecost 20 (Proper 24)


Matthew 22:15-22 - Religious leaders attempt to trap Jesus by asking him whether taxes should be paid to Rome. The religious leaders came to Jesus with a trick question that no matter how he answers, he is in trouble.

Pharisees and Herodians come to him with the question whether taxes should be paid to the Roman government. The Pharisees would say, “No”; the Herodians would answer, “Yes.” If Jesus said one should not pay taxes, he could be arrested as a subversive and revolutionary. If Jesus said one should, he would be in trouble with the patriotic Jews who hated Roman dominance. Jesus recognized that the inquirers were hypocrites and that they came to find occasion to have him arrested. His answer caused his enemies to marvel at his answer: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

We have a tendency to put state and church into water-tight compartments. We separate church and state to the extent Christians often surrender the state to politicians and devote their time and talent to the church. A Christian needs to understand and act in the light of the fact that he is a citizen of two kingdoms, with responsibilities to each.

Jesus used a coin to answer the question of paying taxes to Rome. On the coin was the image of Caesar and his inscription as the supreme and divine being. What belongs to Caesar should be given to Caesar says Jesus. The coin of commitment to Caesar requires our payment of taxes, our service and obedience to the laws of justice.

The coin of commitment to Christ, the king of kings requires of tithes and offerings, our service and obedience to the law of love. As Jesus used this method of as a suffering servant to effect change so we too follow in His wake.

A prayer for guidance; Heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being, we humbly pray You so to guide and govern us by Your Word and Spirit that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget You but remember that we are ever walking in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. [1]


[1] For Divine Guidance, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

With all your heart, copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things


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