March 21

Matthew 22:19-21 19Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" 21"Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

The religious leaders sent some of their students along with some of the government supporters to try to trap Jesus. First, they buttered Him up with some high praise. Then they asked a tricky question. Jesus saw right through their flattery to their real nature. He called them hypocrites (actors). Then He asked a question that should have struck the heart of anyone who may have been serious about his or her relationship with God. Why are you trying to trap me? He's asking them to check the motivation of their hearts.

The question posed to Jesus was clever because almost any answer would offend some of Jesus' followers. If He said to pay the taxes, the zealot nationalists would be offended. If He said to refuse to pay them, those who support the government would have reason to arrest Him. He answered by first asking for a coin. "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" The coins bore the image of Caesar. Jesus said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." The things of the world are temporal. Obey the authorities and give your temporal things. The allegiance of the heart is what is important. Give your heart, soul, mind and strength to God. In that answer rich with wisdom, Jesus completely silenced them. He could have said, "Checkmate"! They were fighting over the temporal which did not matter in the long run. He was establishing a kingdom in the hearts of men that would last forever.

Dear reader, where is your focus? Are you concerned about where your coins go or to Whom your whole being belongs? It is amazing how Jesus can take our trick questions and turn them around to reveal the very motivations of our hearts.

Remember: When the world questions us, seek Godly wisdom through prayer before you answer.