Give to Caesar

Read: Luke 20:20-26

Whose image and inscription are on it? (v. 24 NIV)

For decades, our coins in Canada all had a picture of Queen Elizabeth II on them. Quarter, nickel, or dime, all displayed the queen’s face. With the coronation of King Charles III, we have had to mint new coins with the king’s face. Every new coin will have the image of the king on it.

Roman coins were no different. Those who hated Jesus sent spies to trap him by asking him a question about paying taxes to the hated Romans. If Jesus said they should not pay, the spies could report Jesus to the governor and get him arrested. If Jesus said the people should pay taxes, he would lose credibility with his followers. Jesus cleverly avoided this trap by asking for a coin. The coin would have had Caesar’s face—his image—on it. In Jesus’s teaching, those coins belonged to Caesar because they were made in his image and likeness. But humans—you and I—we are made in God’s image and likeness. We can give our coins to the emperor, but not ourselves, because we belong to God. Jesus answers the question about taxes by pointing to a deeper truth—you ultimately belong to God, not Caesar.

You were made in God’s image. You have relationships and jobs and responsibilities that may rightly demand some things from you, but only God can demand your whole self. Caesar can take his due (Rom. 13:7), but don’t give to Caesar what belongs to God. Give your life to the one you belong to.

As you pray, ask Jesus to help you to give yourself to him.

About the Author

Stephen Shaffer is the pastor at Bethel Reformed Church in Brantford, Ontario.

This entry is part 7 of 31 in the series Looking to Jesus