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Mark 12:13-17

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What Belongs to Caesar…

The Jewish leaders tried to trap Jesus in His teachings:

They sent some Pharisees and Herodians to him to ensnare him in his speech. They came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?”

Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” They brought one to him and he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They replied to him, “Caesar’s.” So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’ They were utterly amazed at him.  -Mark 12:13-17, NAB

The Pharisees and Herodians asked a very difficult question.  On one hand, Jesus had to look loyal to the Jewish people, His followers.  On the other hand, if He said anything against Rome, He could be arrested for it.  Christ answered their question in a very profound way.

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By telling the people to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s, Jesus was able to avoid their trap.  He showed His loyalty to the Jewish people (and to God) without saying anything that would get Him in trouble with Rome – a very clever answer.

We are citizens of the world and God’s Heavenly Kingdom, and we must be honest citizens of both.  Jesus was telling the people that God’s concerns are not about worldly things, such as money, but heavenly things, like the praise and adoration that we owe Him.  In our lives, we must live the same way – giving to the world what belongs to the world, and to God what belongs to God.

In our modern society, our financial status seems to determine our position.  We get caught up in chasing wealth, and our lives are measured by it.  The rich and famous, not the wise, become our idols.  As Christians, however, we need to break free from society’s values and focus on what truly matters: living saintly lives.

My hope is that God will bless you financially – not with wealth, but with a life free from poverty.  Regardless of your financial status, though, I hope that His largest blessings come in your spiritual life – giving you strength and wisdom in your faith.  That, dear friends, is true wealth.

When we die, we cannot take our earthly treasures with us, but our Heavenly treasures will stay with us for eterntiy.  Stop focusing on what you can gain from this world, and start focusing on what you can gain in the next.

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