Summary: Because we are created in the image of God, we must give to God all that we are and have.
Matthew 22: 15 – 22 / Who’s Is This?
Intro: A little boy wanted $100 to buy a new toy. He decided to pray to God for a whole week. When nothing happened, he wrote and mailed a letter addressed to God requesting the money. The letter was forwarded to the White House by the Post Office. The President was impressed, touched and amused. He instructed an aide to send the boy $5. The boy was delighted and sat down to write a thank you letter. He wrote, “Dear God, Thank you so much for sending the money. However, I noticed that you sent it through Washington and, as usual they kept most of it.” (from Bucket of surprises by John and Mark Stibbe)
I. Taxes seem to be an issue during this election year. It is no comfort to know that it was just as big an issue at the time of Jesus.
A. The Romans levied taxes on the Jews: THE GROUND TAX (10%), THE INCOME TAX (1% w/ no deductions), THE POLL TAX (the wage of a common laborer for one day’s work levied on every male from age 14 to 65 & every female from age 12 to 65.
B. It was this poll tax the Jewish leaders asked Jesus about. It had to be paid with a silver denarius with the image and inscription of Tiberius Caesar.
C. The Pharisees were angry because of the “graven image of someone claiming to be a descendant of a God.
II. VS. 18 – 21 / “Give (Render) to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
A. The verb used for “GIVE” or “RENDER” is the Greek verb APODOTE carries the meaning of GIVING BACK or RETURN.
B. At that time, any item with a man’s stamp or inscription on it belonged to that person. Therefore the coin belonged to Caesar. So it if belongs to Caesar, then give it to him.
C. Jesus cleverly did not say to pay the tax. He only said to give back to Caesar what belonged to Caesar. Would Jesus say the same today? “That money doesn’t have your name or face on it. Give it back! And we feel like that little boy writing to God.
III. Vs. 21b – “And render to God what is God’s.” What belongs to God?
A. Jesus says, the coin bears Caesar’s image; give it back to him. You bear God’s image; so give yourself back to God! To what degree, in what ways are you and I giving to God what is his?
B. In what ways is the image of Christ evident in us? You and I bear God’s image in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit. So give yourself back to God! Winston Churchill once said, “You make a living by what you get…you make a life by what you give.”
C. We have often withheld ourselves and our proper service to God. The truth Jesus spoke then is just a true today. There are those who refuse to give God the allegiance, the service, the praise that God is owed.
Conclu: There’s a story of a farmer who was taking a sack full of corn to sell in town. On the way, he saw the king riding by in his fancy gold chariot. The farmer stopped him and said, “Dear King! You give me so much through your benevolence and generosity! I wish there was something I could give you.” The King answered, “Well you can give me all that corn?” “Oh, I can’t do that. I need to sell it in the market; but, I will give you 5 kernels.” All right,” said the king. I’ll take 5 kernels. The farmer gave the 5 kernels and continued his journey to town. When he got to the market and opened his sack he found 5 of his kernels had turned to solid gold. He wept, realizing that if he had given more, more would have been given him in return.”
More regrettable is the fact that many don’t even offer the 5 kernels!
You and I bear God’s image. Yet, what are you willing to give back to God? “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”