Saturday, November 20
Not my own
Scripture: Job 12-13, Luke 20
Luke 20:25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Jesus’ enemies were trying to trap him by asking, “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” If Jesus said no, they could report Him to the Roman authorities for advocating rebellion and sedition. If Jesus said yes, they knew this would make Jesus unpopular with the masses who resented Roman oppression and taxes. (It reminds me of the no-win situation pastors are in regarding masks in church. If they require masks, the anti-maskers are upset and leave. If they don’t, the maskers are upset and leave. It’s a no-win proposition. That’s what this was like.)
Jesus asked for the coin used to pay the tax and asked whose image was on it. It was Caesar’s image. Then…this famous saying. Jesus used the readily accepted idea that we put our name or image on things to indicate ownership. I have a golf travel bag with my name and picture on it—it belongs to me. Caesar’s image on the coin indicates it belongs to him. God’s image on me indicates I belong to Him. I am not my own.
First, Jesus acknowledges that civil authorities have some claims that are to be honored. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” Paul discusses this in Romans 13.
Second, Jesus statement indicates that while civil authorities are due “what belongs to them”, there is a higher authority: God. Peter expressed this in Acts 4:19 and 5:30 when the authorities commanded him to stop spreading the news about Jesus. “We must obey God rather than you.” The state has authority but there are limits, and God is the highest authority.
Third, and most importantly, “give to God what is God’s.” What is that? What belongs to God? You. Your life. Your all. Based on the “image argument” that Jesus uses, what bears the image of God? You do. Just like my golf travel bag with my image and name on it belongs to me, so I belong to God. All of me. I am not my own. I can’t say, “It’s my life.” I belong to Him.
What does it look like for me to “belong to God” today? My time is His, my resources are His, my thoughts and words are His. I am His.
Prayer: Lord, here is my life, given afresh to You. Do what You want with me. My life is not my own. I belong to You!