'Unwritten rules' are basic standards of behavior that are widely assumed and generally accepted. One of them is that there are many settings in which you simply don’t talk politics or religion. But Jesus didn’t hesitate to speak on these matters, and to speak boldly at that. His enemies asked Him, "Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" They were trying to force Jesus to choose between Rome and Israel, and to do so would make Him an enemy of the people or an enemy of the state. But Jesus amazed and silenced them by answering, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s." (Mark 12:13-17)
To the shock of all who thought Jesus would free God’s people from godless Roman rule, He actually said (and obediently lived!), "Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s." More than just paying taxes, this means giving honor and obedience to the authority God has established. We have great freedoms in our democracy, but we are not free to slander or disrespect the government. But as much as "Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s" may offend our pride, "Give to God what is God’s" ought to crush our hearts, for who of us has given God what is due Him? Everything we have comes from Him; our very lives belong to Him. Does He get our faithfulness, our selflessness, our sacrifice, our unwavering love? Does He get our best in every area and aspect of our lives? We must admit that we have cheated God, withholding what is rightfully His. Yet the One who has been cheated is the One who gave His entire life for us, in our place, shedding His own blood to forgive our sins and to give us eternal salvation. May this move us to GIVE TO CAESAR WHAT IS CAESAR’S and GIVE TO GOD WHAT IS GOD’S with newfound gratitude.
Come visit us at CHRIST OUR REDEEMER for more of this message of God's grace!
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.