Summary: Often we make a division that somethings are sacred and some things not. Thsi sermon highlights that everything has been given to us to use for God’s purposes, of loving Him and loving others.
How we see things affects how we relate to them.
Some years a go a man who works in the area of caring for the homeless was asked by a journalist,
“how come you seem to have so much respect for them”
“no matter what mood they are in, or how they are acting you show them more love than anyone else I have seen.”
His reply was, “I don’t see them as homeless and helpless,
but as individuals loved by God and having the image of God.”
He went onto say that he has been greatly influenced by Matthew 25:31-46
And in particular verse 40 which says
‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
How we view people will affect how we treat them.
Likewise how we view life affects how we live?
As disciples of Jesus,
something that is very important for us is that everything is sacred.
Everything is sacred.
From Colossians chapter 1 verse 16 we hear
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Unfortunately not every Christian recognises this.
Satan loves it when we fall for the belief that some things are sacred and some things are not.
Some people try to act as holy as God himself when they are in the walls of a church building
but as soon as they step outside,
or are out of sight something changes,
they act as if God can’t see them.
But the fact is God is everywhere.
And where God is that is sacred space.
And this is the point Jesus was making in today’s Gospel reading.
To understand this we need some background.
The Jewish land was under Roman rule, lead by Caeser.
Caeser was not like our politicians who are elected and if we don’t like them over time we vote them out.
He is more like a king,
but he was also more powerful, by law you had to worship him.
The only ones excluded were the Jews.
Now the two groups in today’s reading
the Pharisees and the Herodians despised each other.
The Pharisees were committed to following God as they understood God
from what we know as the Old Testament.
They hated their country being ruled by a foreigner Caeser.
They considered the authorities as wicked.
The Herodians on the other hand were Jews who saw benefits in being ruled by the foreigner Caeser.
Even though at times, he did things against the God of the Old Testament.
There was one thing Pharisees and Herodians had in common.
They were threatened by Jesus.
So even though they hated each other they joined forces and ganged up on Jesus together whenever they could.
Now picture the scene.
The Herodians in the background like a lion ready to punce.
The Pharisees ask Jesus a loaded question.
“Is it right to pay taxes to Caeser?”
Jesus appears to be in a no win situation
Now there is also something else that we need to clarify.
For the Jews they were obliged to pay two taxes.
One to Caesar, which was a little like the taxes we have.
And a tax to the temple, which was a flat fee, more like a membership fee regardless of how poor or wealthy you were.
And so in difficult times the pressure was on.
How Jesus answers the question is significant.
The Pharisees expected him to choose sides.
In fact they probably expected him to say pay taxes to God first and instead of Caesar
And if he did the Herodians would have pounced and said he was promoting treason against the government.
But He doesn’t choose sides.
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
He is actually saying we have responsibility to both the government and to God.
They should not be played off against each other.
It is not because they are equal, but because God uses the government to do many good things.
Occasionally in church and political circles you will hear something called the two kingdoms.
It is often misunderstood.
It is not a doctrine or teaching that says God is good and the government bad.
It is a teaching that says God works through both the church to bring salvation and care for Christians
and also through other parts of his creation including governments to care for the world.
Now many people love bashing the government and politicians.
At times they seem to do some very oddball things.
They are not perfect.
However for a moment think about it how much good they do.