Saturday October 24, 2020
Today’s Reading: Mark 12:13-17
Then Jesus told them, “Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.
Reflection: The Pharisees and the Herodians were known to be enemies. But because they are both looking to have Jesus arrested, they join together to try and trap Him by His teachings. So they approach Him with a question, asking if Jews should or should not pay taxes. At this time, the Jews were living under Roman rule and were obligated to pay taxes to them on food and income, in addition to what was called a yearly poll tax per person. Not only were taxes a hefty financial burden to pay, but they were monies that were given to an authority that was oppressing the Jewish people. So with this question, Pharisees and Herodians intended to put Jesus in a difficult position. If Jesus supported taxes on the Jewish people, He would seem to be supportive of the Roman Empire’s oppression upon them. If He did told the Jews to not pay their taxes, He could be viewed by the Roman government as a rebel against their rule.
But Jesus answers with Wisdom which brings their attention to a more powerful authority: that of the Kingdom of God. He asks for a denarius, a Roman coin which had imprinted on it the image of the emperor. Like a label or signature, the image confirmed the government to which the coin belonged. It signified the jurisdiction under which the coin could be used. He used the analogy of the coin to point to a greater truth about humanity.
We as people bear the image of God, and we are created to be used in God’s economy. As such, we are rendered useless outside of God’s purposes. As we live in expectation of the Kingdom of Heaven to come in its fullness on earth, it is right to give what is owed to the government under which we are ruled. But more importantly, because we are created in the image and likeness of God, we are called to give all that belongs to Him. This includes our whole selves. All that we do, all that we give, all that we profess has the capacity to return to God what He deserves.
Hear the call of Jesus Who tells us to give to our God what is His. How much of what belongs to God do we give Him?
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for creating me to be Yours, and for allowing me to be a part of Your Kingdom. Your blessings for me overflow in abundance. All that I have has come from Your Hand. Help me to continually be obedient to Your Perfect Rule in all that I do. I pray all of these things in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.
Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Biblestudytools.com: Mark 12:1-27; 1 Kings 3; Hosea 6:1-7:2