Summary: As Christians, we are to give ourselves to God.
“Whose Image Do We Bear?”
The political season is upon us and we’ve got some pretty hotly contested races going.
Which means the television is rife with political commercials.
I don’t know about you all, but I really get turned off by political commercials.
Why can’t the candidates be nice to one another, or at least be nice in general?
Oftentimes, I’ll find myself, after watching a political commercial, routing for the other guy…
…simply because the one who sponsored the advertisement seemed so vicious and unfair in his and her attacks on the other person they are running against.
You know the tag lines with the candidates saying: “I’m so and so and I approve this ad.”
Do you ever think to yourself, when you see that, “Well, if you approve that kind of mean-mud-slinging, and stretching of the truth…I don’t know why anyone would want to put their trust in you!”
“I’d be ashamed to put my endorsement on that kind of meanness!”
The other day, I was riding behind a big ‘ol SUV with a sticker of an American Flag on one side of the bumper, one of those Jesus in the fish-sign things in the middle, and a sticker for one of the meanest political advertisers, in my opinion, on the other.
Kind of turns me off.
Our Gospel Lesson for this morning is well known and often used as an excuse for political theocracies, a need to blindly follow oppressive governments, and so forth.
Once again, Christ’s Words have been seriously misunderstood and misused…
…kind of like some of those political t-v ads we see…
…the truth gets twisted.
Jesus does not clearly resolve the question of authority of Church versus State in this morning’s encounter.
Requirements, such as taxation, imposed by the State, are not the main issues of our passage.
Rather, the main issue is that, as believers, our total allegiance belongs to God, and all other obligations are to be subordinate to this supreme loyalty.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on here in Matthew Chapter 22.
The story starts with the Jewish Church leaders looking for some way to get rid of Jesus.
They know that they don’t have any power to do anything to Him themselves, except flog Him and that might just have made Jesus even more popular.
So they tried to find ways to get Him to say something against the Romans so they can take over and do something to keep Jesus quiet.
But there is a problem. A lot of the ordinary folks regarded Jesus as a prophet and just giving Him to the Romans could make things very difficult for themselves.
So they come up with a plan that, if it works, and they see no reason why it won’t, whatever Jesus does will upset one side or the other.
This is their plan. There are two main groups arguing against each other.
One was the Herodians. These were not a Church group, but a group of Jewish people who supported Herod Antipas and wanted closer and better ties with Rome. They supported Roman taxation, and believed it was right for everyone to pay taxes to Rome.
This tax wasn’t based on income, but was a poll tax, something everyone had to pay…