Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.-Matthew 22:15-22
Jesus was challenged to bring balance to government rulers and God by the Pharisees and their followers. The question was asked about paying taxes and Jesus responded by pointing out the image on the coin to start off His answer. Why? The image on the coin was Caesar so, yeah, of course he should get what his image is on. However, the deeper meaning in this story is found in the words not spoken.
If we believe the image of Christ is on us and in us, if we believe the Church should be revealing the image of Christ to the world then, we must recognize Jesus’ words “(render) to God things that are God’s” represented everything we have and are! He didn’t point out the image on the coin for no reason; He wanted the challengers to see sure, the image of Caesar is on this coin, give it to him. However, God’s image is on everything, so no matter what you should be giving everything back to Him.
We may pay taxes with former presidents on the cash and/or coin, but we are called to give everything we have to Christ because His image is on it all. There is no separation because God has it all. Our money, our property, our body, our heart, our material possessions…everything is HIS! So yes, give to the government what is necessary, but give to God everything because it is necessary! That is the purpose of this interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees and the challenge He places on all of us.
Perhaps this is why they left amazed? Perhaps they realized they needed to give more? Perhaps they saw that God didn’t quite care as much about financial giving, but more about life giving? We can throw money at concerns and expect them to be cured, but God says give me your life and let me use you to do the work.
Caesar may call for his image back for his throne, but God is calling for His image to give back to reveal His throne.
Question: Can you see God’s image in everything you do and have? Are you willing to give it all to Him for His image to be seen?