HOUSMAIL HM#051 - RENDER TO GOD THE THINGS THAT ARE GOD'S 18 December 1999
“Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how
to entangle him in his talk. 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 care for no man; for you do not regard the
position of men. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes
to Caesar, or not?"
It was on the face of it, a logical and important question.
In the Sermon On The Mount Jesus calls us all to resist not evil, to turn the other cheek in the face of aggression, to seek no revenge, and to love and do good to our enemies. The clear implication of such teaching is that for followers of Jesus, there can be no place ever again for making war. How then could Jesus possibly justify the payment of taxes to a ruler who would use them to maintain the armies which had made war to conquer Israel, and now continued to maintain “peace” by brutal force of arms?
But it was also a malicious question, which Matthew tells us was a trap designed to entangle Jesus in His own words. If he said “NO”, they could accuse Him of rebellion against Caesar. And if He said “YES”, they could then use the seeming “inconsistency” to discredit Him in the eyes of His followers.
Jesus saw through the hypocrisy behind their question. He asked to see a coin and then said, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?". Question settled! If the coin bore Caesar’s image and inscription, their taxes were only giving back to Caesar what was already his! God rules in the Kingdoms of men. God had given the Kingdom to Caesar. (Daniel 4:17, 5:21) Therefore obedience to God required them to "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's.”
But there was a sting in the tail of that answer which must have taken them completely by surprise! There was another tribute of a different kind which they also needed to pay. “RENDER TO GOD THE THINGS THAT ARE GOD'S!"
In the Gospel records the subtle meaning behind Jesus’ words was left unspoken ..... but the Pharisees who were so familiar with the Old Testament, should have picked it up immediately!
The coin bore the image of Caesar ..... but what bore the image of God? Read Gen 1:27. The coin bore Caesar’s inscription ..... but what bore God’s “inscription”? Read Deut 6:6-9.
"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall
be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them
when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and
when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them
for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."
Alas ..... for most of the human race, especially including our own generation, rendering to God what bears HIS image and inscription, is even more unpopular than paying taxes!
But the Gospel of the Kingdom of God says that God offers to renew the stamp of his IMAGE on us, and write His INSCRIPTION on our hearts, so that we will be enabled to pay our “KINGDOM TAXES”. ..... Not only does God expect us to render this tribute, but He also puts the “coin” in our hands to enable us pay it!
“Put on the new nature, which is being renewed
in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
" I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds." (Heb 10:16)
“You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:20)