Monday, November 3, 2008

Render to Caesar

And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?" But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." And they brought one. And he said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesar's." Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marveled at him. Mark 12:13-17
I briefly touched on this passage in my Sunday School class yesterday as we continued our quick exposition of the Gospel of Mark. Obviously, it was the Lord's providence to bring this text to our attention on the Sunday before election day!

This short incident contains so much which can be discussed. Yet I only pointed out a couple of items during class time.

1. Jesus certainly instructs His followers to obey their rulers (i.e., government). This makes sense because God has ordained the government ruling over us. Paul makes this quite clear in Romans 13 among other places. Jesus, being God in the flesh, understood this truth. We are to obey the commandments (i.e., laws) of our government except ...

2. ... when a government law is contrary to the law of God. Peter stated this argument concerning civil disobedience in Acts 5:29. The religious leaders commanded the apostles not to preach Jesus. Peter responded, "We must obey God rather than men."

3. In the first century, Caesar (and Rome) often commanded men to do things contrary to God's Word. Some of the Caesars demanded worship which, of course, Christians would not give to any but the one true God. Such situations resulted in many conflicts between authorities and the Lord's followers.

4. Obviously, conflicts should not arise when the laws of government are consistent with the law of God. In the Mark 12 passage, nothing in God's law forbids the paying of taxes to the government. So, Jesus commanded men to do just that.

5. First century Palestine differs from twenty-first century America, though. Jesus and His followers had no say when it came to who was Caesar or who occupied a seat in the Roman Senate. They could not prevent men who might be opposed to the Word of God from occupying those positions. But, in the United States, WE ELECT OUR CAESAR! Our government leaders are REPRESENTATIVES chosen by us! What a unique but wonderful blessing God has given us in terms of our government!

6. Therefore, when we elect OUR CAESAR, let's elect men and women who are most likely to lead and legislate in agreement with God's Word. By doing so, we reduce the likelihood of future conflicts, the necessity for civil disobedience, and bring glory to God as a nation.

Tomorrow is election day. Vote wisely for YOUR CAESAR!


CanadianGrandma said...

"Amen" to what you stated!

CanadianGrandma said...

I say "amen" to your blog today!