Thursday, August 25, 2016

Luke 20:20-26

Luke 20:20-26
And after watching insidiously, they sent forth subordinates, while themselves acting to be righteous, in order that they should grasp upon his word therefore to hand him over to the rulers and to the authorities of the governor.  And they interrogated him while saying, “Teacher, we have known that you speak correctly and you teach.  And you do not judge by appearances but you teach upon the way of God.  Is it lawful for us to give a tribute to Caesar or not?”  And after perceiving their cunning, He said to them, “Demonstrate a denarius before me.  Of whom does it have an image and inscription?”  And they said “Of Caesar.”  And He said to them, “Therefore give the things of Caesar to Caesar and the things of God to God.”   And they were not strong enough to grasp upon his saying before the people.  And after marveling upon His answer they kept silent.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

The religious leaders turn insidious.  They stand back, watching and planning and scheming.  They send in subordinates to try and entrap Jesus.  They are looking for any excuse to be able to hand Jesus over to the authorities.  They even came before Jesus with words of flattery!  This is what can lay in the heart of mankind.  We might like to think that mankind wants to play nice with one another.  But the truth is that we would rather not.  We watch others with judgmental eyes.  We wait for them to stumble so that we can rise up against them or at least drag their name down.  We even plot against others, planning our reactions to theirs.

Are you ever living in this manner?  When are you apt to let yourself fall into this kind of insidious behavior?  How can you learn to avoid such thinking regarding others around you?

Second Thought:

Jesus perceives their cunning and deception.  He knows what they are up to.  He has them figured out.  Jesus responds to their direct question with an example.  He asks for a coin, and helps them to discover that Caesar’s image is upon it.  He then replies with a very non-committal expression.  When He says, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s,” make sure you hear Him correctly.  Does Jesus ever say that the coin isn’t God’s coin?  No, of course not!  Jesus puts that conclusion into the hands of the listener.  If a person determines that the coin belongs to Caesar, then let him return it to Caesar in the form of taxes with no guilt.  But if the person perceives it as God’s coin, then that person should not feel any guilt about returning the coin to God, either.  Jesus diffuses their question by allowing each listener the ability to think and conclude for themselves.  Rather than allow Himself to get pinned down and thus open Himself to attack, Jesus allows the minds of the people to remain open.

How do you try and diffuse the cunning of those who would entrap you?  How easily are you able to remain open instead of allowing yourself to get pinned down and attacked?

Third Thought:

The net effect is a gain for Jesus.  The religious leaders are not able to accuse Him at a time of their own choosing.  Even more importantly, the people around Jesus marvel at His deft hand.  God is praised through the actions of Jesus.  It isn’t about winning after all.  It is about giving the people something to think about and giving them a reason to contemplate the grandeur of God.

When are you led to marvel at God and His words?  Have you ever had an opportunity to grant the people around you reason to marvel at God through what He has done through you?  What does that feel like?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 20:27-32
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