Every time I’ve ever heard today’s scripture mentioned in Church it’s been in the context of money. Usually it’s used as a confirmation that we as Christians should pay our taxes, and I wholeheartedly agree with that! However, I think Jesus was making a point that is much, much more significant than this and something you and I need to be reminded of every single day.
This story in Mark 12 starts with some Pharisees and Herodians trying to trap Jesus by asking Him a question about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus tells them to bring a denarius so He can have a look at it. He then goes on to ask them a question about the coin, which I believe didn’t really have anything to do with the coin, but everything to do with who was on the throne of their hearts...
‘“Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” said Jesus. “Caesar’s”, they replied’.
The scripture tells us that what Jesus said next totally amazed them. Though they’d tried to trick Jesus, His question was about to trick them on a much deeper level than they realised. Even we, if we fail to get our minds off money and taxes, can easily miss what Jesus was really saying when He replied, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar`s and to God what is God`s.”
You see, Jesus is begging us to ask a very important question here! We know the image of Caesar was on the coin, so the real question is ... “what has God’s image on it?” Jesus is saying to the Pharisees and to us, “when you work out what I’m talking about, give that thing wholeheartedly to God!”
I’d skipped over this scripture for years, until a few years ago I asked the question. Instantly I heard the Holy Spirit shouting at me on the inside “It’s YOU! YOU bear the image of God!”. I remember being cut to the heart, as I remembered that right in the beginning God had made us in His image (Genesis 1:27).
The Pharisees had come to trick Jesus and He turned it around by essentially saying to them, “stop talking to me about money and material things and give your whole self back to God, to whom you really belong”. Jesus has a way of taking us by surprise and getting straight to our hearts. Can I encourage you to let Him get to yours as you say the following prayer?
Prayer: Father, thank You for making me in Your image. Thank You for reminding me today that, although I can easily be distracted by so many material things, You’re always pursuing my heart and beckoning me to allow You to establish Yourself as king there. Thank You that You’re jealous for me and that You want to be on the throne of my life. Would You help me today to surrender all of myself to You, holding nothing back. Thank You that, as I relinquish control of my life to such a trustworthy master, I know I’m in safe hands, and that Your plan for me is far better than anything I could ever come up with! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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