Bible Reading: Luke 20:19-26; James 4:7
The wisdom of Jesus is on full display in this passage. The Pharisees were doing all that they could to trip him up and discredit Jesus, but Jesus was too smart for them. In the passage for this week’s blog, the Pharisees think they finally have the perfect trap when they ask a question of loyalty: Is Jesus loyal to Israel, or Rome? Since Rome was the ruling nation over Israel, there was some tension in this question. Citizens of Israel had to pay a tax to Rome, but to encourage people to do it was to betray the nation. What would Jesus’ response be? Would Jesus say it is lawful to pay the tax to Caesar? Or would he be loyal to Israel?
The Pharisees thought this was a sure trap. If Jesus approved of the tax, then that meant Jesus was not truly loyal to Israel or God. But if Jesus denied the tax, then He would be an enemy of the emperor and would surely be thrown into prison or worse. They finally had Jesus trapped, and He would finally be removed from their life. But Jesus is all-wise, and He has the perfect response to the question. Jesus asked to see a coin of currency, and he follows up by asking whose face is on the coin. The response was that Caesar’s face was on the coin. To this, Jesus says in verse 25, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.”
At a moment where it looked as if Jesus was about to show some kind of flaw, His wisdom and grace shows through. Rather than become an enemy to Rome or Israel, He instead shows where His true citizenship lies: with His Heavenly Father. Jesus’ answer rings true, even today. Jesus may have lived on this earth for 33 years, but it was not His home. He was passing through in order to redeem the people of God from sin for all of eternity. He was an alien in the world He created. We too are not at home here, but waiting to be brought to our true home.
Christians, we care so much about our temporary homes. Sometimes we treat this place like we will be here forever, and we lose sight of the fact that we are just passing through. Consider the illustration of having to move out of your home while it is being redone. The place you stay while your true home is being prepared never feels like home. You may have to stay there for a few weeks or months, but you know it is just temporary. In the same way, this earth is a temporary place for the people of God. Our true home is in the kingdom of God, in a new heaven and earth that He will one day establish. Jesus left to go and prepare a place for His people, and one day we will move in. Until that time, make peace with this world. Give to “Caesar” what is due, and love all of your neighbors with the love of Christ. Provide for your family, serve others, and worship God while you wait for the glorious day when we arrive at the home He has prepared for us.
Call to Action: It is difficult to live with an eternal perspective. This world has so many things to keep us busy, that we don’t think about heaven. The good times we are blessed to have in this life are precious gifts God has given to us. Take them all in and enjoy them. This life is so short, so enjoy your children being small, and play as much as you can with them. Go and visit your parents and grandparents, because one day you will not have the opportunity. As great as these things are, they are just here to hold us over until our joy will be complete in Jesus. If you think the blessings of this life are good, wait until the ultimate blessing comes to be. Until that day, work hard, love harder, laugh more, grumble less, be happy, don’t worry, but above all, give to God what is Gods. Every day, worship Him and draw close to Him. It is only by giving our hearts and lives to God that w experience true joy, and that we can be able to hope for our eternal home with Him.