Thursday, October 20, 2011

18th Sunday after Pentecost -- Death and Taxes

Jesus is tested by religious leaders regarding paying taxes to Rome.  Jesus does not answer their question but reframes the debate, looking at God's sovereignty over the world instead.  Ultimately Jesus fulfills both sides of his clever statement "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's."
I am indebted to my colleague and former classmate Matt Musteric for the emphasis on the passion.

An excerpt: 
And now Jesus reframes the entire debate by uttering the line “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”  The reality that we all too often fail to face is what in the world belongs to God and what belongs to the emperor?  The quickest way to answer is to quote the 24th psalm, although there are plenty other verses that could support that.  Psalm 24:1 reads “The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.”  Put simply, God made it all and it all belongs to him.  Therefore to be faithful to Jesus’ words, we owe everything to God.  Everything that is, except for the idolatrous coinage that makes some false claim on the truth.  That can be sent back to the Emperor where it belongs.  

Read the whole sermon here
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