20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. 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 image and inscription are on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. 25 He said to them, “Then give back 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.
I love how Jesus turns things back to the real issue. “… give to God what is God’s”. Jesus comes back to the issue of right relationship with God.
Am I in a right relationship with God? Am I giving to God the best of me – my time, my love, my heart, my soul, my mind, my strength, my wealth, my assets and resources, my worship, my all? They are not mine after all. They are all His. And for all He has done for me by sending His Son to die in my place – He is so deserving of them.
When Jesus cut through all the patronising rhetoric and pretense the spies came to Him with, they were left speechless and awestruck by His words. Sometimes Jesus needs to do that to us as well. We too, will be left awestruck at his penetrating perceptiveness. His kind but firm, merciful words will cut to the real issues in us and bring us back to right relationship so we can get on with giving to “God what is God’s”.
Thanks so much Lord, for Your breathtaking, merciful words; that bring me back to a right relationship with You. Thanks for making a relationship possible through the cross. May my “giving to God” take on a whole new meaning from now on.
Written by Boudy van Noppen