With the help of the Herodians, the Pharisees are at it again. This time they hope to trap Jesus out with a clever question about paying tax to Caesar. The answer, they hope, will either get Jesus into trouble for treason or for heresy. Add a good dash of flattery and Jesus should be ready to take the bait.
“Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? (Mark 12:14)
Jesus is quick to spot their hypocrisy and as he always does he turns their question on it's head.
“Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17)
It may be the Emperor's image on the coins but as children of God we are the bearers of an even greater image. "God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them" (Genesis 1:26,27) How then do we give to God the things that belong to God? The answer is found in the second part of our Gospel reading for today and is not as taxing as you might think.
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29)
Till next time... Andrew
Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills