WHAT BELONGS TO CAESAR?
“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Then give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God’” (Luke 20:25 ERV).
We were in a Sunday School class recently when a participant privately told me that we can sin at times since Jesus Christ said that we should give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
He further said that giving to God what belongs to God is when we come to church to worship Him. I immediately refuted his opinion and explained that Jesus was not talking about sin in that reference, but mainly about our civic responsibility to the government and the society. He reluctantly nodded his head in agreement.
This wrong allusion to what belongs to Caesar made me think more about what really belongs to Caesar and what really belongs to God. If one has a close look at the passage (and other parallel passages – Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17), one will have more understanding on this.
The Pharisees and the Herodians colluded and sent some of their disciples to Jesus to trap Him. They asked, “Tell us, is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (Luke 20:22 ERV). If Jesus approved paying taxes to Caesar, He would offend the Jews, and this might discredit His ministry among them.
If He disapproved paying of taxes to Caesar, the religious leaders would readily have a proof to accuse Him before the ruling Roman powers. However, being omniscient, He knew their antics.
So, He asked them to give Him a coin. Having provided the coin, He asked about the image on the coin. They told Him that the image was that of Caesar. He thereby told them to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.
The coin and other materials used as monetary values have the images of this world and its rulers, and they belong to this world and the rulers of this world. They should be given back to the world.
Other things, including rules and regulations created by the world, should be strictly adhered to if they are not contrary to the rules and laws of God (see Acts 4:19; 5:29). However, people that use the money are created in the image of God and belong to God.
So, they should give their lives that carry the image of God to God. Apostle Paul put it this way: “So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him—an offering that is only for God and pleasing to him. Considering what he has done, it is only right that you should worship him in this way” (Romans 12:1 ERV).
If one can give one’s life totally to God, it would not be difficult to give to the world and its rulers what belong to them and even use that thing that belongs to the world to glorify God.
The person that has given his life totally to God will find it difficult to violate the rules and laws of the world (when they are not contrary to the rules and laws of God), and he will willingly obey the rules and laws of God.
Prayer Point: Pray that you will be able to give your life totally to God and as you give to the world what belong to it you will be able do so and use them to His glory.
By Pastor Bayo Afolaranmi