Scripture: “The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that (Jesus) had told this parable against them—but they feared the people.
So, they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor.
So, they asked him: “Teacher, we know you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. (Here’s our question) Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not?”
But (Jesus) perceived their craftiness and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Luke 20:19-25
Observation: Psalms 119 has this reference: “Through your precepts (syn. principles) I get understanding…” Psalm 119:104a
That is what Jesus is unveiling for us, a “principle in the Word of God.”
Analysis: “Everyone is a theologian.”
When I started off in being a Christian way back when, I actively fought against the subject of theology. I was of the uninformed and contemptuous opinion that “theology” was at the root of all thing dead in the Church at large. “If we only could get back to the 1st Century attitudes, where dead theology didn’t exist but the simple Living Word was dominate, it would be better….and the Kingdom would come quicker, etc. etc. yack, yack, and yack….”
How little did I know. I proved without a shadow of doubt there is a category of Christian called “stupid and ignorant.” Anybody could see in me that Zealous and Foolish went hand in hand.
Part of growing up mature in Christ is getting past the “wall-hangings” stage of personal growth. Not to be mis-understood, I am not against wall-hanging. They are good reminders of the goodness of God, the supremacy of the Scriptures, principles of righteousness and holiness, and the like. What I am saying is: Wall-hangings cannot be the epitome of my life in Christ.
This is where analyzing and learning of the Precepts/Principles of the Word come into play.
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” Clear, clean. This is not ambiguous at all. There isn’t any “interpretation” that is applicable that should change the context of this simple statement.
“Render to God the things that are God’s.” Again, clear, clean, not ambiguous.
So, why do I have problems with this very simple set of principle? I remember the story of the self-justifying Lawyer. Jesus, in response to “How do I get eternal life?” gave the lawyer simple instructions straight from the 10 commandments. The Lawyer, wanting to drill down to find a loophole, responded “But…” (Luke 10:25-29)
I am just like the Lawyer in this story, “But, but, but, Jesus, really? There must be a loophole I can escape into…Come on, that’s too much, that is way out there, that is…. radical.” Buts can get into my way of understanding the Scriptures; not only understanding but applying them as well.
My point is: Study to show yourself approved to God, rightly and accurately handling the word of truth. Don’t be ashamed by only halfway efforts. Be a workman.
Prayer: Lord, I appreciate the little I have grown over the past 40 years. Help me grow in depth in You, honoring You, praising You, worshiping You all my days—every day. I feel like I am packing it on one nail at a time and my house isn’t hardly off the ground.
Make me learn, O God. Make me so that I can serve my brothers and sisters well. AMEN.