Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Render to Caesar: Whose Image Are You?

Matthew 21:15-22
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.2 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius.3 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

I love this story. It shows the absolute brilliance and wisdom of Jesus. It also leads to a radical conclusion for all of humanity. I recently listened to Ravi Zacharias recount this story from the Bible. It went something like this.

A man comes to test Jesus about paying taxes. The man is trying to catch Jesus saying something that the crowds would find objectionable. Taxes, then like today, are a hot-button issue. So the man comes and asks Jesus, “Should we pay taxes to Caesar?” Of course I wish that Jesus would have answered that question differently. I wish he would have said, “no”. Then I could be rebellious and godly. When April 15th rolls around I can refuse to pay my taxes and be godly at the same time. But, that is not what Jesus said. Jesus said, “show me a coin.” They bring Him a coin. Jesus says, “Whose image is on this coin?” They said, “Caesar”. To which Jesus replied, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. The man walked away. The man was thwarted by Jesus’ answer but he missed the greater point. He should have asked another question. The man should have asked, “What belongs to God?” Then he hears, “What image is on you?”

Let that sink in for a minute. The Bible says that humanity is created in the image of God. The Roman coin is stamped with the image of its owner – Caesar. The human life is stamped with the image of it’s creator and owner – the Lord God. So, give to God what is His --- your life.

That is the greatest calling, responsibility, and purpose of your life --- to render to God that which is His --- you!

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