The Invitation - Day 17

Luke 20:20-26

20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?”

25 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

 He said to them, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

One more time, Jesus senses the motives behind a dangerous group of followers. Pretending to value His teachings, they bate Him into an impossible question. If He sides with the feelings of His Jewish crowd and disrespects the Roman government, His opponents have leverage against Him as a dissident revolutionary. But if He appears to support Rome and its oppressive taxation, His influence with the people will surely flag. What will Jesus do?

Once again, He removes the danger by asking a question in return for theirs. When they admitted their money bore the image of Caesar, logically, Rome could ask for it back. It is Caesar’s property. Here, Jesus not only sidestepped danger But also made a powerful point.

Ever so subtly, Jesus reminds the listener whose image we bear. He points out our first allegiance is to our Maker and true King. We care about local laws, zoning restrictions, building codes, and homeowners associations. We participate in primary elections and Tuesdays in November. But don’t be confused; our worship and loyalty are first and foremost, and always to God. Our national pride is good until it is wound too tightly to our faith. No country, ethnicity, or wonderful politician should stand in the place of God.

Luke chapter 20 lands at the perfect moment in time. As we anticipate the upcoming political events of the year with dread or excitement, don’t forget the hope of our lives, communities, and families is Jesus—no one else.

As Psalm 121:1-2 reminds us :

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

  1. How do you feel as you anticipate the political discourse in your country this year? Why? 
  2. Is there something that stresses you about money? What?
  3. What is Jesus (who sees through duplicity) talking to you about right now?

By Pastor Dave Ferguson

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