Scripture: Luke 20:19-26
Key verse: (25) He said to them, “Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Reflection: The scribes and chief priests thought they had him. They sent spies to challenge Jesus with a trick question about whether it was lawful to pay taxes to the emperor. Either way he answered, yes or no, would be a disaster for him. If Jesus said “yes” to taxes, then he obviously wasn’t a faithful Jew. He was supporting the occupying Roman government and he wasn’t maintaining the sovereignty of Israel as a nation established by God. If Jesus said “no” to taxes, then he clearly was promoting civil disobedience. The Roman Empire wouldn’t tolerate that.
The question was a trap. Jesus, the wise and masterful teacher, refused to fall into the trap. His answer was mind-boggling. Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s. Does that mean the coin, since it had the emperor’s head and title on it? Give to God the things that are God’s. What does that mean? Where do we find the image of God? According to the creation story, the image of God is seen in men and women. We were each created in the image of God, as if God’s head and title is stamped on us like the emperor’s was on a coin. So is Jesus calling us to give our very selves to God?
Whoa! Who is feeling tricked and trapped now?
Prayer: Dear Lord, grant me courage to give myself to you. Your love, so amazing and so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. Whatever I might withhold, whatever tricky question I might have, meet me with your gracious invitation to let it go. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].