There is a famous quote, usually attributed to Ben Franklin, though he was actually quoting someone else, that says: “only two things are certain in life….”. I’m sure you know what the quote says. I read a funny Bizarro cartoon that showed the Grim Reaper sitting in an IRS office being audited and the Reaper was saying “I suppose this was inevitable.”. Made me laugh, anyway.
This Sunday as we continue our study in Luke, we’ll be reading ch 20:20-26. In these short six verses we have the makings of a lifelong study. It’s the famous passage where Jesus is asked about paying taxes to Rome, and his answer is both brilliant and thought-provoking.
First and foremost, what do you make of the religious leaders sending spies intending to entrap Jesus and get him in trouble? How does that seem to square with God’s character? What observations might we make about what had happened to the spiritual leaders of Israel?
How do you read Jesus’ answer? He takes an either/or question and turns it into a both/and response. What do you suppose he means to give Caesar what belongs to him? Does that seem to guide us in how we as God’s people understand the role of government, and if so, what guidance does it seem to yield?
The word Jesus used for “image” is significant. It’s the same word the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Jewish Bible) used for Gen 1:26 – “Let us make man in our own image”. How might that weigh into what Jesus is saying, especially the last part of his answer? In what ways can we give God back whatever it is that bears His image? Again, as I said, thought-provoking stuff that doesn’t seem content to produce one answer alone.
I’m stoked about this passage, it’s really a lot of fun to dig into. I hope you can join us this Sunday as we examine it together!