Matthew 22:20 ”
“And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’”
As the cross approaches, so does the opposition to Jesus. The religious leaders are desperately trying to turn the people against Jesus. In this case, they sent the young Pharisees, and the Herodians, a political sect that favored the Jews being ruled by Rome. When they arrived, they must have thought they had come up with the perfect question. No matter how Jesus answered, He would end up polarizing himself. “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?” If Jesus says “yes”, he will find himself at odds with the people. They will think of Him, and all He has done and said, as simply a political movement in support of Rome. If He says “no”, He will find himself the enemy of Rome and be a wanted man. I can almost feel the excitement of the religious leaders as the question is posed. Jesus’ response is as insightful as it is brilliant.
“Whose image and inscription is this… Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”
Jesus draws their attention to the coin. He wants them to notice whose image it bears and what has been written on it. Since it bears the image and text of Caesar, render it to him. Jesus does not stop there, He adds, “Render to God the things that are God’s.”
It strikes me, as I think of holding a coin, that today, like then, coins bear images and inscription. They both show and tell to whom they really belong, and so do we. The Bible tells us we have been created in the image of God, and when we receive Christ, we are born again in His image.
“. . . put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, . . .” (Colossians 3:10)
And as we walk with Him, He writes upon our hearts. We actually become living love letters from God; written for the world to read.
“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:2-3
Let’s be sure, today, that we are rendering to God what belongs to Him. He created you, redeemed you, and desires you. Give unto God what is God’s.
Questions for chapter 22
- Who do you think the characters of the Parable in verses 1-14 represent?
- What seems to be the desire of the King?
- Where were the people invited from?
- Why was one of the guests removed from the feast?
- What does Jesus tell us to do with the things that belong to God?
- What things of yours belong to God?
- What is significant about the statement “God is the God of the living?”
- In a word, what is the greatest commandment?
- To who is that love to be directed?
- In what way are you showing love for God and others?