Our scripture this morning is Mark 12:13-17.
Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.
Many times the Pharisees and other religious leaders tried to catch Jesus in His teachings. They were never successful but many important lessons come to us from these encounters. Today we hear Jesus tell us to give the government what is theirs and God what is His.
Political discussions have always been difficult and they seem especially hard in the era of social media. We shoot fiery rhetoric across the internet, radio and television. We believe in our opinions and often don’t understand why others feel differently.
Some will say “our time is very troubled, it’s not the same as then”. Remember that when Jesus spoke these words Roman soldiers occupied the land and free speech was severely limited. Jesus wants us to see that all government rule is temporary, while God’s love for us is eternal. If we pay more attention to what God wants of us, we can be less stressed about our earthly situation.
Loving Lord, we are confused and sometimes angry about the situations we find ourselves in and we don’t know what to do. Help us to turn to You in faith and continue to give You what is Yours. Amen.