Christian Comment

THE service at Crediton Methodist Church on Sunday, October 22 was led by Pam Murphy. 

Over recent Sundays and for some to come, the set Bible readings follow what Matthew recorded as Jesus neared the end of His three years of earthly ministry, after he had made His last journey to Jerusalem, and had been hailed as the king the people had waited so long for.

These last days were packed with different Jewish leaders intent on questioning and challenging Jesus – asking by what right He was preaching and teaching His new message, asking what authority He had to do that. 

Jesus had responded in teaching and in parables – each story addressing different issues. 

There were questions of obedience to God, about us being faithful custodians of all the God has entrusted to us, and about us accepting God’s gracious invitation to us. 

Today – Jesus asks us to reflect on belonging to God.  

It was the disciples of the Pharisees, together with some Herodians – a sort of political party – who spoke to Jesus. 

Using flattery to lure Jesus into a trap so that whatever His response, they would be able to use it against Him, they asked was it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

Jesus knew what they were doing and had called for one of the coins used to pay the Roman tax that all loathed. 

They had brought him a denarius and identified the portrait on it as Caesar’s. 

In an inspirational reply, Jesus had told them simply “then give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar… and to God what belongs to God”. 

This passage reminds us that God gave us order and administration. 

Paying taxes - though it is still a contentious issue – we know our taxes do help provide support for those who most need it and for other things we may take for granted like education, health and emergency services and waste collection. 

Our main focus is on Jesus’ words “Give to God what belongs to God”.  Psalm 24 says “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it”.  

Everything that exists or has existed and everyone belongs to our Creator God, even those who don’t give Him a second thought are God’s creation and made in His image.   

Pam finds that quite awesome - both that we belong to God – and that we bear His image.

So, knowing ourselves to have been created by God, let us remember that just as that denarius bore Caesar’s image, we too bear God’s imprint - God’s image on ourselves – not what He looks like physically but how we bear the God-given qualities we see in Jesus, love, gentleness, truth, humility and giving of self for others.  

And not being bamboozled by the clever tactics of the world to lure and distract us from God’s ways and will.

Our Lord Jesus calls on all who seek to follow Him to live whole-heartedly as God’s children.

Bronwyn Nott