Matthew 22:18-21-“But Jesus knew their evil motives. ‘You hypocrites!’ he said. ‘Why are you tryin to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.’ When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, ‘Whose picture and title are stamped on it?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. ‘Well, then,’ he said, ‘give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.’"
The Pharisees were up to their tricks again in hopes of trapping Jesus: a simple question, a simple trap, yet a supernatural response. “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” They hoped Jesus would declare His allegiance to the Kingdom of God and deny the kingdom of Caesar so they could convict Him, yet not only does Jesus answer their question with precision, but He teaches them a lesson in His perfection, answering their question with one of His own. Whose picture and title are stamped? Since on the coin, it is Caesar’s “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar...” Now, if Jesus would have left His answer at those 7 words they would have more than sufficed at putting the Pharisees in their place. He was declaring that as earthly citizens living within the Roman empire they should abide by the laws of that government. BUT, it didn’t end there: In essence, He would ask again, “Whose picture and title are stamped”, but this time He would look beyond silver into their souls: “...give to God what belongs to God.” These 7 words would redefine His followers’ citizenship: greater citizenship to the Kingdom of God. Your money is stamped with Caesar’s picture and title, so give to him what is due. Your heart is stamped with God’s image and title, so give to God all of you!
So today I ponder the question, “Whose picture and title are stamped” on me? I have been created in His image and called to be His son. Beyond that, my forgiveness and freedom were purchased with His very own blood. My identity is in Him, my purpose is in Him, my life is His, but how can I practically apply this Kingdom of God citizenship in my daily life? This is where those 7 words help define how I should live, “...give to God what belongs to God.” So what is God’s?
- My heart and its pursuits
- My mind and its thoughts
- My time and how it’s stewarded
- My emotions and hurts
- My frustrations and fears
- My accomplishments
It’s all God’s, and that perspective should dictate how I navigate through situations and define my priorities. If my heart is God’s then it should be dedicated to His plans, desires, and Kingdom advancement rather than my plans, desires, and selfish gain. If my time is His then my minutes should be used as He sees fit: serving Him, serving people, and living out His love. If my frustrations are God’s then they should be surrendered to Him and not allowed to linger and dictate my actions. I am stamped and titled by Him, and I will live today for Him!
Jesus, thank You for choosing me, for loving me, and for desiring me. May that revelation, that You have given me Your image, Your title, and Your calling, motivate me to give to You what is rightfully Yours. May I live today with Your perspective guiding me through situations and Your priorities defining my choices. In Your name, Amen!