Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday, November 1st: Luke 20:19-26 ~ Roxie

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is James 2; Song of Songs 5; Ezekiel 1,2
Today's scripture focus is Luke 20:19-26

19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

..."give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's".

This often strikes a bit of a love/hate reaction in me. It is a simple concept and o so true. It is only right to give back to Caesar what is his...but what IS his? Looking at the present day parallel, we all seem to end up paying taxes, whether on our income, on our land or homes, on our clothes, food, whatever. I find myself cringing at the "extra" that is added to my receipts and wonder where all that money goes...and why I have to pay for it.

Perhaps I should, instead, remember that I am really glad to live in Canada. Though I do not always agree with the politics of this or that...I am still really glad to live in Canada. And as long as I keep paying my taxes, I have a house that I can live in; I have a yard to plant a garden in and for my dogs to run around; I have pasture for my cows to graze on; I have a school my children (if I were to be blessed with any) could attend; I have doctors and nurses to assess my boo boos and lab techs to help them out, too; I can call the police if I were to feel threatened. As long as I keep paying my taxes, all this remains available to me.

If the majority of people were to stop paying taxes (yes, I know there are some...probably many who avoid taxes one way or another), would these services, these benefits be available to me? Would I be able to stop people from killing my cows at random or stealing my land...burning my house, just because they could? Where would children be educated? Would medical personnel be willing to see me if I had nothing left to offer for their services? Would the police help me without requiring payment in advance?

Maybe it sounds silly to be rationalizing taxes on a Bible study blog, but when I read this verse...I can't help but wonder at the logic of Jesus.

..."give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's".

So the next question is: what is God's?

My normal response would be everything. I cannot ignore that truth...but then I think a little bit more deeply and remember:

Genesis 1:27 "So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."


Jeremiah 31:33 "But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the LORD: I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."

Jesus asked those teachers of the law holding out that denarius, "Whose image and inscription are on it?"

Caesar has rights to all that bears his image and inscription, symbolic of his claim of ownership.

The image of God is on all of humanity and His words are inscribed on the hearts of believers. The teachers would have known the ancient texts; once again, were reminded of who they were supposed to be.

..."give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's".

It is only right and logical to give all of ourselves into God's hands every day for we are His.

Monday's scripture focusLuke 20:27-40
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezekiel 3,4


Miriam said...

Great post, Roxie!

tammi said...

SO hard to know how that's supposed to look in every day life sometimes!

Tammy said...

Great post, Roxie. We are His, we bear His image. Truly, we are His slaves.

In the end, all will acknowledge it. But only those who bowed the knee of their own free will now, will receive the blessing of His kingship.