Jesus had been telling stories, called parables, and in many of them the Jewish religious leaders fared badly, so badly, they wanted him gone, if not dead. To this end, they posed questions of him publicly to discredit him. Some Pharisees and Herodians came together (Pharisees and Herodians seldom come together, they do not like each other) to ask Jesus, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Mark 12:14).. The Herodians were pro-Rome, while the Pharisees were fiercely anti-Rome, and therefore pro-Israel. and there lay the trap of the question. Pay or not, either answer, Jesus would be picking a side, so he said both.
Jesus asked for a coin, “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it” (Mark 12:15). He did not have one, but the religious leaders do, “and they brought one. And he said to them ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this? They said to him, ‘Caesar’s’” (Mark 12:16). They handed Jesus a coin with an icon of Caesar and an inscription that read, “Caesar Tiberius, Son of God Augustus.” One King, Caesar, owns all the money in the kingdom. His picture is on every coin. One King, Jesus, has nothing at all, not even a denarius.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.” ~Philippians 2:5-7
Noting the inscription and the image of Caesar on the coin, Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). It has his picture on it, so give it to him; likewise, give to God what bears his image, “so God created man in his own image, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26). Caesar can have his money. Caesars come and Caesars go, but there is a another…
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed. ~Daniel 7:14
Caesar does not get you.
“And the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” ~Revelation 17:14
Lord God, I look forward to Your return. I know when You come back, it will be as victorious Savior, King of kings. You will put all things in order. Sin, evil, pain, and tears will be no more. The world will be filled with Your glory, holiness, love, beauty. It will be good.
May I be a light in this world, illuminating Your Kingdom to a world that needs to see what is ahead. When You come, Lord, may You find me living a life reflecting Your glory.