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Gene’s Daily Scriptural Postings.

More Significant than Money: Matthew 22:15-22

Focus Passage: Matthew 22:15-22 (NCV)The Pharisees were notorious for trying to trick and trap Jesus saying something wrong. However, every spiritual challenge they brought Jesus’ way was side-stepped, countered, or answered in a way they were not expecting. After discussing and collaborating with one another, the Pharisees came up with the perfect no-win scenario, but in order to really back Jesus into a corner, they needed to temporarily team up with a group they hated. The gospel of Matthew describes what happened “Then the Pharisees left that place and made plans to trap Jesus in saying something wrong. They sent some of their own followers and some people from the group called Herodians.” (v. 15-16a) The Herodians were Jews who had aligned themselves with Herod and the Roman government at that time. These Jews were the government supporters in a nation where most leaders disliked but tolerated the government. The Pharisees brought the Herodians with them so that they had both angles covered with enough witnesses to make a case against Jesus with whatever answer He gave. After setting the question up by giving Jesus some insincere compliments, they get to their question, “So tell us what you think. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (v. 17) Jesus knew exactly where this question was going, and He easily saw the trap that was in front of Him. If He said to not pay taxes, He would align Himself against the government that imposed taxes. But if He said to pay taxes, He would decrease God’s rule and sovereignty and place a human, oppressive system in its place. In essence, paying taxes off the top of one’s income is stealing the first money that should have been set apart as tithe to God. Jesus saw the challenge, and He saw the insincerity in how they asked the question. But to really get the point across, Jesus needed to ask a counter question. He asks them to show Him a coin, and then asks, “Whose image and name are on the coin?” (v. 20) The answer is obvious. There is a right answer, and it really isn’t a trick question. Instead, Jesus uses this obvious illustration to get a point across. There was no way around admitting that Caesar’s image and name are inscribed on each coin. After they respond, Jesus gives His clear and unexpected response. He says, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and give to God the things that are God’s.”” (v. 21) In this response, Jesus both calls out the idea that we put our name on the things that are ours, but more importantly, He makes the statement that what belongs to God is so much more significant than money. Money is simply paper and coins — or in today’s era, it is simply a line item in a spreadsheet called a bank account. In contrast, our life, our breath, and our eternity belong to God. Jesus’ response says that the government can have its money, but that we are to dedicate ourselves – the very essence of who we are – to God. Everyone of us has life because of God, and that makes us His. This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today! Read this article on the web on it's official page: More Significant than Money: Matthew 22:15-22

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