Friday, August 12, 2016

It's All About Image...

Jesus turned the religious world upside down with His attitude and His teaching.
  • He went to the homes of publicans and sinners as well as people who had good reputations?  How dare he act like a tax collector had as much right to His time as a scribe!  Mark 2:15-17
  •  And, he treated women with the same respect he treated the men he met? There were no women scribes or priests!  Why waste your time teaching and ministering to women?  John 4:7-29; John 8:2-11; Luke 8:1-3; Luke 10:38-42
  • He made time for children.  There are no children making decisions about how the Temple funds will be spent!  Matthew 19:13-14; Luke 9:46:48
  • He made time for those who didn't fit the mold.  How about you?  Are you merciful, hungry for righteousness, persecuted, in mourning, meek, poor in spirit?  The religious leaders taught that you must have failed God somewhere.  But, Jesus?  He said those people were blessed!  And, God would see to their needs. Matthew 5:1-16
The religious leaders hated Him.  
Isn’t that ironic?  They claimed to be God’s voice on the earth and they hated the One that was THE WORD!  They had so little respect for God and so little insight as to WHO Jesus was, they wanted to kill him.   John 1:1-5; Hebrews 1:1-2; Luke 22:2

These men were constantly looking for ways to trap Jesus into a corner and make a fool of Him.  But, He knew the reality of what was in their hearts.  They might dress with the finery of priests, but, their hearts were as filthy as used coffins.  Matthew 23:27

Let’s look at Matthew 22:15-22
Some religious leaders had gotten together and discussed their next strategy against Jesus.  
They thought they had a perfect way to trap Him and get Him to say the wrong thing.  
But, Jesus gave them a HUGE lesson about behavior and allegiance in His answer to their trick question.

The Romans were hated by the Jewish people because of their abuse, oppression, and cruelty.  The Jews were taxed severely by the Romans and of course the Jews resented having to pay money to invaders who oppressed them.
The Pharisees stopped Jesus in front of a crowd.  They had already chosen their words carefully…
They started with flattery, Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don’t pander to your students.
Then they drop their little bomb… So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

They thought, “We have Him now!”
  • If he says it IS lawful, the people will turn on Him.
  • If he says it ISN’T lawful, the Romans will take care of Him.
Then HE lowered the boom on them…
  • He told them He was not fooled by their flattery.
  • He asked for a coin.
  • He pointed out that Caesar’s image was on the coin.
  • Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.
  • Give to God the things that are God’s.
The Pharisees were caught off guard, and walked away astounded.
I wonder if the reason they were so shocked by this were those final few words… “…and, give to God, the things that are God’s.”
I love when Jesus taught this way.
Jesus simply answers their question with the truth that will further rock their little theological boats!
The coin was in Caesar’s image… Give it to Caesar, it is his anyway.
The Roman government will decide the best use for the taxes paid to them.

But, that last part…
Give God the things that are God’s. 
Where do we find something made in God’s image? Genesis 1:27
·      Us.
The human race.
Even those Pharisees were created in the image of God!

And, being made in His image, we are to give ourselves completely to Him. 
There are people who would NEVER cheat the tax man... but, they cheat Almighty God by denying Him what is His.
We are His.
The government decides the best way to use our taxes, God decides the best way to use us.
The only difference is, God will never waste our lives.
The tax man? I can't promise he won't waste your money.

Jesus never missed an opportunity to help people to understand His kingdom.  
Even when he dealt with people who wanted Him dead.

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