Raise your hand if you like taxes.
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
We always say that two things that should be left out of dinner party conversations: politics and religion. (Unless, of course, you're having dinner with totally like-minded people or you like fist fights.) So of course in trying to trap Jesus and stir the people against him, the Pharisees come at Jesus with both barrels blazing: politics AND religion. What better topic to bring up than taxes?
In fact, when they ask Jesus the loaded question in Matthew 22:15-22, they are hoping his answer will either get him in trouble with religious or political groups. If he says that taxes are unlawful, he could be arrested. If he says they are lawful, then he is going to be in hot water with the Israelites, who are still hoping for a kingly Messiah to free them from Roman oppression.
Jesus blows apart their perfect plan by transcending the discussion. The coin has Caesar's image on it and thus belongs to Caesar.
But whose image do we bear?
Genesis 1:26 says that people were created in the image of God. We bear his image. Jesus said to give Caesar what is his and give to God what is his. Bearing his image, we belong to him just as the coin bearing Caesar's . This brings up that idea of ownership from the vineyard parable in Day 8.
What speaks to me from this passage is the reality that something bigger and deeper cuts through our political and even religious affiliations. We all have the image of our maker ingrained on our very being. We belong to him. We represent him. We are LOVED by him. We were created intentionally for relationship with him.
How mind blowing! I love that Jesus was able to say so much while saying so little. He silenced the Pharisees, and in thinking about the vast significance of this, I also fall silent.
(Linking in today with Imperfect Prose with Emily Wierenga--go check for a lovely post from her and other lovely posters.)
This is part of a Lenten series based on and related to my Lenten devotional, Consider the Cross. For more, you can find the book on Amazon.