Today’s Reading: Luke 20:27-47 (additional reading: Psalm 89:14-37 & Proverbs 13:17-19)
The Jewish leaders decided to trick Jesus by using flattery. Flattery is not the same thing as a true compliment. Flattery is patting someone on the back to find the soft spot to insert the dagger. Flattery is gossip in disguise. Here’s the way you can tell the difference: Gossip is saying behind a person’s back what you would never say to his face; flattery is saying to a person’s face what you would never say behind his back. After softening Jesus up with a few short jabs of flattery, they slipped in their knockout question: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?
I can almost hear the Jewish leaders giggling with glee because they were certain Jesus was trapped with no room for escape. Don’t you hate questions where the questioner restricts you to only yes or no? If Jesus said “yes,” all the people who expected the Messiah to liberate them from the Romans would have deserted Him. On the other hand, if Jesus said, “No,” the Romans would have arrested Him for treason. Instead, Jesus asked for a Roman coin, a denarius, and asked His own question. . The Jews were trying to get Jesus to take a position on whether they were accountable to the Romans.
When the coin was provided, Jesus asked, “Whose image and inscription is on this coin?” The answer was self-evident: Caesar’s icon and Caesar’s words were stamped on the coin. Jesus gave one of the all-time great principles when He said: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s; and give to God what is God’s
When people looked at a Roman coin they saw the image of Caesar because his image was stamped upon it. Where do we find God’s image? To answer that question, you must go all the way back to when God created the world. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image, male and female he created them.” What do we owe God? We owe Him that which upon He has stamped His image–we are to give Him our lives. You and I are made in God’s image, and we are to give Him something greater than our money–we give Him ourselves.
John Stott writes: We bear the royal stamp of God upon us, we are His kingdom’s royal coin. Jesus looks to us and asks, “Who’s image is this? Who made this life? Who owns it? Who gives value to it?” Our Creator, of course. And Jesus challenges us, “This life is not yours. It was provided for you to use. But, it really belongs to someone else. So, give it back!”
Every follower of Jesus holds dual citizenships. The Bible says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors…” (II Corinthians 5:20)