DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2021-03-19
WRITTEN AT: Avon Park, FL
BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 22:18-21
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)
BIBLE TEXT: 18 Jesus knew the malice that was hidden behind their cunning ploy and said, “Why are you testing me, you imposters who think you have all the answers? 19 Show me one of the Roman coins.” So they brought him a silver coin used to pay the tax. 20 “Now, tell me, whose head is on this coin and whose inscription is stamped on it?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Jesus said, “Precisely, for the coin bears the image of the emperor Caesar.[k] Well, then, you should pay the emperor what is due to the emperor. But because you bear the image of God,[l] give back to God all that belongs to him.”
OBSERVATION: It seems like Jesus was consistently challenged by the Pharisees and the Jews, because His arrival into their world really upset their whole belief system. We may tend to be as challenged as the Pharisees when we are corrected on our evil thoughts and our conniving ways. So let us ask God’s grace as we meditate on this passage today. Are we truly giving to God everything He deserves from us in return for all His gracious blessings towards us each day?
APPLICATION: I once heard a prominent leader challenge his staff in response to a new law that would have a grave impact on his business. He asked, what is the minimum we could do and still be compliant with this new law? Doesn’t that sound much like us when we feel a certain obligation to give of our time or money to the work of the Lord? Isn’t attending church once in a while enough? Do we really need to also attend Bible Study or perhaps help in a children’s class? And don’t challenge me on giving, for the church is very liberal in spending the hordes of money it raises through offerings each Sunday! But for those who get caught up in those things, do you suppose that they ever take time to study the Word of God on either of these subjects? In our Scripture today, the Pharisees were getting really on edge with all that Jesus was teaching. Can’t you imagine the feeling they must have had seeing the crowds gather around this newcomer? Who does He think He is? Why not trap Him into saying something that might get Him arrested and punished from ever teaching again? But just as God knows the thoughts and actions of each reader today, He also knew the same of the Pharisees and the evil they were plotting. Notice that Jesus didn’t argue with them about their misgivings in paying taxes, but instead challenged them to do something for God, after all He loves them unconditionally; He created the means of salvation for them, by sending His only Son as a sacrifice for their sin; He has been patiently awaiting their heartfelt songs of praise and their personal worship of the God that created them and provides for them each and every day. Instead of worrying about the taxes they pay to Caesar, they should be concentrating on the God who cares for them and created them so that they may come to Him with thankful and praiseworthy hearts. What about you, my friend? Would God be happy with all that you devote your time to, or would He also challenge you to consider the Creator of all mankind, more than anything else in this world? Only you can assess that, and even then it may take a provoking thought from your Maker to be truly honest with yourself. I believe our challenge from this passage is still very much like Jesus challenged the Pharisees with: Give to God what belongs to Him – in honest response to everything He has blessed you with.
PRAYER: Lord, I have no doubt that still today we tend to question things with You that are really intended to distract from the main challenges of our life. May we all learn to give You our hearts, our lives and our earthly belongings – including our money, for You were the ultimate giver of life, health and everything that makes up our lives here on earth. There’s no time for distractions, for You alone are worthy of our praise and You deserve our praises. Please challenge us regularly so that we may stay on track and never lose sight of whose we are, and from whom our blessings originated. You deserve it all oh King. Thank You for loving even us – unconditionally! AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!