Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 2, 2007
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 2, 2007
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a
Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
Trickery, Caesar, and taxes
"Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to
entangle him in his talk. And they sent their
disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying,
'Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the
way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you
do not regard the position of men. Tell us, then,
what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to
Caesar, or not?' But Jesus, aware of their malice,
said, 'Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?
Show me the money for the tax.' And they brought
him a coin. And Jesus said to them, 'Whose
likeness and inscription is this?' They said,
'Caesar's.' Then he said to them, 'Render
therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's,
and to God the things that are God's.' When they
heard it, they marveled; and they left him and
Political and religious enemies have always made
strange bedfellows. Normally the Herodians and
Pharisees did not get along. Their political
beliefs differed sharply. But they shared a
common desire to eliminate Jesus and so joined
forces in a clever trap. First they flattered
Jesus. Then they asked him a highly charged,
politically dangerous question about Caesar and
paying taxes. Their country was under Roman
rule. If Jesus responded by defying Caesar and
his oppressive taxation, this would place Jesus
in very dangerous situation. He could be arrested
and severely punished as a revolutionary.
Being no fool, Jesus instantly saw through their
trickery. He knew their motives and felt their
deadly hatred. He called their bluff and let
them know he understood their attempt to trap
him. What began as a potentially deadly trap
instantly became one of his most famous sayings.
"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God
what is God's."
People of faith have long struggled to understand
what it means to be a good citizen even when living
under the rule of repressive, harsh, and evil
governments. While honoring God in our lives how
can we advocate justice and mercy, fight hunger,
work for world peace, and make the world a better
place to live? Even when we try to put politics
aside, what does this teaching mean in our private,
religious, social, professional, and recreational
lives? How do we do this as we struggle to pay
our bills and put food on the table?
I personally know of no easy answers to these
questions. A popular question, which asks what
Jesus would do in various situations, sometimes
feels simplistic. But I know of no better way
Our story today concludes with Jesus' enemies
baffled and astonished by his answer. They leave
while shaking their heads in dismay and anger.
But their conflict with him will only intensify.
They are determined to rid their world of this
God, teach us to give Caesar what is Caesar's.
Bless us with the mind of Christ so we may know
how give you what is yours. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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