Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:17-21
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now, salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. Romans 13:6-11
Therefore, Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore, Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:33-37
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
How easy it is for us to slip into a pattern of living that is driven by the pursuit of our rights in this world. Some people lend a hand to Caesar as a way of achieving this pursuit. Some raise the hand against Caesar in defiance when there is interference with this pursuit. Some evade Caesar by living under the radar of Caesar’s influence and interference. Christians are called to something altogether different. This world is not our home we are just passing through. Therefore, our life focus is to give to God what is His and not be in the grip of what the world offers. Salvation has been given to us in Christ. Our mission is to bless the world with the kind of love and care God gives to us as His children. When the opportunity comes, we share the message of salvation with those God is using our lives to bless. When we are wrapped up in the powerful experience of kingdom living and kingdom pursuits, we will find that we will take in stride whatever power Caesar exercises over our human lives.
Jesus makes it clear that His Kingdom is not of this world. But this does not mean it is not operating in this world. What an exciting thing it is to be a part of a spiritual kingdom that is influencing and winning the world one person at a time as individual lives are touched and reclaimed for God. With this as our focus we seek to be good citizens in this world rendering to it that which is required. We really do have a debt of love due to God for the gift of salvation and we take care of that debt by truly loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for suffering for me that I might be redeemed and serve your kingdom. I see that it is out of the blessing of my intimate love relationship with you which I have through redemption, that I can live to bless the lives of people all around me. Lord, please help me get my eyes off of myself and onto you and everyone my life can bless day after day as I live fully for you. Amen!
Posted on Thu, April 13, 2017
by Ken Hart