Slightly Obsessed #079 "Made In His Image Part 2" (Wednesday Devo) by Pamela Thorson on 2014-08-20 11:26:55
And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” - Mark 12:17
They slithered into the Temple quietly, snakes coiled in waiting for the Master. This group of Pharisees and Herodians had been sent by the Jewish leaders to catch Jesus in a statement appearing to foster rebellion against Roman authority.
The Pharisees were a sect of the Jews. The Herodians were a political party of affluent Jews who backed Herod Antipas, the ruler in Galilee during Jesus’ ministry.
They put on their most sincere faces and circled Jesus as they sprung the question.
“Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay or not pay?”
Jesus saw the trap. He wasn’t fooled by their deceit. He asked them to bring Him a denarius. This common first century coin would have represented a day’s wages to most people. Jesus didn’t even have that much money to His name. Someone produced one for Him, and He asked, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”
They were confused. Jesus had neatly sidestepped their trap. It was obvious whose inscription was on the coin. “Caesar’s,” they answered.
I can still remember the first time I read this passage in the Bible many years ago. The Bible tells us that those present that day were “amazed” at His answer. I was no less stunned two thousand years later.
Give to Caesar that which bears Caesar’s image. Give to God that which bears His.
The Greek word for “render” actually means “to pay back.” It implies a debt is owed to the one whose image is reflected. Money bears the image of government. So we must pay our taxes in order to honor God. Jesus didn’t make a distinction between fair and unfair taxation. In that same way, any debts we incur that are repaid in currency must be honored.
Our souls, on the other hand, bear the image of God. Our bodies belong to God. Our minds belong to God. Our children belong to God.
The Church belongs to God.
To God we owe our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The Bible commands us “To present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
To others, we owe a debt of love. We are commanded to “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.” (Romans 13:8) This is not a Scripture forbidding the borrowing of money, but an admonition to pay all debts when they are due.
True submission to God’s authority rises above personal and national politics. It both frees us and reminds us of where our true allegiance should lie. Now, at a time when more and more people live for themselves and withdraw from the lives of others, God commands us to give.
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. She resides in the Northwest with her family.