Summary: Although used for lessons concerning money, the "Render to Ceasar" is the weaker part of this teaching...The Greater is "Render to God" - this is man's greatest crisis!
Mankind’s Greatest Crisis
* At the recent “Revival Meeting” we heard 3 great and godly preachers begin their messages with similar statements. Bro. Ed, Bro. Kevin, and Bro. Junior – all began with this thought; “We are in a mess.” Now they didn’t all say it the same way, but in their own way they said it. We are in a mess economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually. With respect to them, the one thing which they did not say is this: “The Spiritual mess leads the way for all the rest.” That is to say, however the church goes, so goes the culture, the politics, and the finances. For you see, we are in a mess today, a crisis if you will, which is more far-reaching than finances & politics. In our day, we call many things a crisis. For some, a crisis is a broken fingernail or a night without a date or a having your cell phone taken away or not working. For others, it is the loss of a friendship, the lack of enough money to buy ‘the latest gadget or gismo’ or even simply not getting their way. It is amazing what people call a crisis today.
* Without any reservation, I submit that the greatest crisis we faces today is found in our relationship or lack thereof to Jehovah God. This is ‘Mankind’s Greatest Crisis.” Our story today highlights this truth in ways that are astonishing.
* THE CONTEXT: We are in the last week of our Lord’s earthly life. It is probably Tuesday. He has already been challenged by the “Sanhedrin (I.E. chief priests, scribes, & elders)” & not only turned back their challenge, but He told a parable, painting pictures of the future which awaits those who miss the mark with the Father.
* We want to see crisis in the horizontal (relationships, felt needs), but the real one is in the vertical.
* A cursory reading of this story will give a horizontal impression that this was really about money, however Jesus turns the tables making the lesson far deeper than we imagine.
* So that you don’t think that I’m ducking this issue, let me simply state that Christ-followers should be good citizens. We should pay our taxes, we should vote, & we should abide by the laws which do not violate the laws of God. In several places (Romans & Peter), we are given this instruction.
* However, this is not the main or rich message from this text. Jesus came to offer you & me a way to God (“I am the way”) & He never allowed anyone to distract Him from that task. The religious people back then & even today attempt to derail the eternal message of the salvation, hope, help, & eternal life by clouding the issue with cultural debris.
* We must keep our focus on the truth that the Greatest Crisis Mankind faces today is this: We are lost & on our way to a place called hell without a relationship to sovereign God. This relationship only comes through the Lord Jesus. He is not a way, He is THE way. Lost people & Religious people don’t really want to face this truth. When you face a crisis, it requires action because it is a defining & decisive moment. What you do in that moment determines much about your future.
* We are in such a moment today. In this slice of Jesus’ life, notice 4 things.
1) An unholy Alliance – Verse 13 begins, “And they sent to Him some of the Pharisees & some of the Herodians.” What a mouthful. The part of “They” is being played by the Sanhedrin who found themselves on the losing & even embarrassing end of a challenge to Jesus. By the way, this will always happen when you oppose Jesus. So they couldn’t ‘get no satisfaction’ so look what they did. They went to their friends, the Pharisees, & asked their enemies, the Herodians to join them in their quest to trap & ultimately kill Jesus. They wanted to stop Him at all cost. The prevailing philosophy found in this verse is like, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In just a few days, Luke tells us that Herod & Pilate two more enemies will become friends in order to silence Jesus.
* The Pharisees were the keeper of the Law of Moses while the Herodians were the keeper of the law of Herod. Anyone confused? One was deeply religious while the other was deeply political & both had a vested interest in silencing Jesus & stopping His message, so they made an alliance.
* How often has this happened within a church body? People who are knows to be enemies – how sad to say within the body of Christ – determine to thwart some needed change to protect their turf so they join together & win the day. Most times, the church loses.