Luke – Wide Open Doors!
Have you ever known and observed certain people in your family, church or work situations who remain silent in a gathering of those who are in debate? They are silent because they are listening with focused minds. They are not listening with minds that are thinking of how they will join into the discussion. They are truly just listening. They see the issues of both sides. Their minds think beyond the issues before speaking.
Then a solution that no one else thought of begins to take shape in their minds. They see what no one else sees. When people like the silent listeners speak, people lean in to hear what they have to say because it is amazing that the silent are speaking at all. As they speak debaters hear wisdom, a new perspective, insight, and understanding. It causes those in debate and in the crowd to stay silent long enough for the “ah-ha” moment to hit them. Their insightful words amaze everyone.
Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus is Truth. Jesus listens, knows the hearts of everyone and speaks wisdom beyond the minds of mankind because His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He is God. But we learn from Him that true wisdom is fed by love, mercy and grace. Watch as Jesus provides answers to those sent to trap him in his words in this passage and in the passages that follow tomorrow.
Luke 20, New Living Translation
Taxes for Caesar
20 Watching for their opportunity, the leaders sent spies pretending to be honest men. They tried to get Jesus to say something that could be reported to the Roman governor so he would arrest Jesus. 21 “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You teach the way of God truthfully. 22 Now tell us—is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 He saw through their trickery and said, 24 “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
25 “Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
26 So they failed to trap him by what he said in front of the people. Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they became silent.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Jesus knew that the men who questioned Him were spies sent by the Pharisees and the Herodians (Mark 12:13), but He patiently listened and replied. These two groups were usually fighting each other, but now they had a common enemy, and this brought them together. They wanted to discuss taxes and Roman authority, hoping to provoke Jesus into offending either the Jews (“Pay the poll tax!”) or the Romans (“Don’t pay the poll tax!”). But Jesus lifted the discussion to a much higher level and forced the spies to think about the relationship between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of men.
The spies ultimately lost that round and went silent. Can you imagine the scene? Eyes wide, the spies look at Jesus then look at each other, shrug their shoulders with “I got nothing.”
When has the wisdom of God affected your life in such a way that it amazed you?
What was your reaction?
How did it change your heart and behavior?
Caesar’s image and name were on the coins, so it was basically his currency. To pay the poll tax meant simply to give Caesar back that which belonged to him.
God’s image is stamped on us; therefore, He has the right to command our lives as citizens in His kingdom. We should seek to be such good citizens that God will be glorified and the unsaved will be attracted to the gospel and want to become Christians (1 Peter 2:9–12; 3:8–17).
It is unfortunate that some Christians have the mistaken idea that the more obnoxious they are as citizens, the more they please God and witness for Christ. We must never violate our conscience, but we should seek to be peacemakers and not troublemakers. Daniel is also an example to follow (Dan. 1).
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
You are Creator of all and in all. There is no one like you in all that you created. You are Truth. You provide the skills for living this life on earth. We just have to ask. So, Lord we are asking for your wisdom, insight and understanding as we grow closer to You, loving and behaving more like You each day. Teach us to be peacemakers with your wisdom in us. You are God and we are not. Help us to listen, truly listen before speaking. Help us to be gracious and kind in all our responses. You spoke Truth in love. Help us to do the same.
In Jesus Name, Amen