Render Unto Caesar – Matthew 22

I remember how excited I was to vote in my first election. It was 1984 and I cast my ballot for President. I had done my civic duty and become part of the electorate. I was proud.

In today’s chapter, the religious leader are trying in several different ways to trick Jesus into saying something for which He could be arrested. I love the final verse of the chapter, verse 46: “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on one dared ask Him any more questions.” (NIV) He had stumped them all!

In the current political climate in America and the world, it is difficult to even touch on some issues without offending someone wise in what He said, so, I’m going to try to follow His example.

The religious leaders approached Jesus with a Roman official in tow. They came to question Him about paying taxes. If He said no, the official could arrest Him. If He said yes, He would lose His popularity. So, He asked to see a coin used for paying the tax. They handed Him one, and He asked, “’Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. Then He said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God, what is God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed. So, they left Him and went away.” (Matthew 22:21=22 NIV)

Caesar’s government, Roman rule, was the government of the the day. So, they were to give the government what it deserved, which obviously meant taxes. We don’t have much of a choice in that as they are taken directly out of our paychecks, for the most part. But what else is due our government? What does Scripture say?

First and foremost is prayer. In I Timothy 2:1-2, Paul tells Timothy, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (NIV) We are urged to pray for our political leaders, so that we can live and worship in peace. Have you prayed for the President today?

Second is respect. In Romans 7:1-7 Paul talks about submitting to the government because “The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (vs 1 NIV) He concludes by saying, “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (vs 7 NIV) We may not like the man or woman serving, but God has placed them there and we owe them the respect due the office in which they serve, whether President, representative, mayor or sheriff. Show some respect.

I know there are a lot of people out there who hate the President, and just as many who hated his predecessor. As believers, we need to remember, God is in control. And since He put our leaders in authority over us we need to pray for them to conform to His will. And we need to give them the respect their offices deserve. And always, prayerfully, do our civic duty and vote on election day.

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