Today we are reading from Mark 12: 13-17:
13 Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? 15 Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.” 16 And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.
So, they want to trip Jesus up today. So, what do they ask Him about?
Some things never change.
Get this, I know it’s crazy, but back then folks would get upset about their taxes. Who could ever imagine that? Now, what they got upset about was different than what we get upset about. Their concern should they be paying taxes to a false god, or at least someone who thought he was a god, Caesar. If Jesus affirmed taxes, then He would anger many who didn’t think that was the right thing to do.
But then if He didn’t He could be accused of treason, for not doing what Rome wanted them to do. It was a perfect trap.
So, what did Jesus do? He looked at the money and said give to Ceasar what is Ceaser’s. In other words, none of this early stuff matters anyway. It is all of this world. Fiances, taxes, all that, it is the world’s. It is false anyway. So, give it to Ceaser. It doesn’t matter in the end. What is of the world, is of the world. If you find your identity in the riches of this world, that will be worthless because it will soon be gone.
But, give to God that which is God’s. Give Him your life. Your heart, your soul your worship. Give Him your all in all. That is what matters cares about the trivial stuff of the world, give it Ceaser.
But give to God what truly matters. Your life.
Jesus turned the question upside down. The Roman (or earthly) money, it is of no true value. So give it to the Ceaser. But what truly counts, that belongs to God. Give it to Him.
Today, sure we can focus on the stuff of this world. But it is fleeting. Do right. Show integrity. With our earthly gifts, use them to help others. That is our command. But most of all, make sure that we are giving to God that which is His. The best of us. Our first fruits, of our life, our resources, and of our hearts.
Give to Ceaser that which is his. But give to God, that is which is HIS.
May we be faithful.
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