And He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" ... (Mark 12:16b)
Read Mark 12:13-17
Here again we have the leaders trying to trap Jesus in His own words. "Does God want us to pay taxes to Caesar or not? What does His Law say?" They knew very well that if He said, "Pay them," He would be in trouble with the people, who hated the Roman taxes, yet if He said, "Don't pay them," He could be executed by the Romans for rebellion. And Jesus knew very well what they were trying to do with their question.
So He cuts to the heart of the matter and asks him whose name and image are on the tax coin. Oh, Caesar's, you say? Well, then, give Caesar what belongs to him. But more important, give God what belongs to Him. Give God your whole heart and mind, body and soul together -- because you yourself carry the image of God.
What He said to the leaders, He says to us today: "Give to God what belongs to God." Give yourselves, because God has created you in His image and has placed His Name upon you in Baptism. You are not your own, you belong to the Lord.
And to place that fact beyond the shadow of a doubt, Jesus is on the way to Calvary -- to carry away your sins and mine, to remove every possible claim the devil might have on any human being as a result of our wrongdoing. His suffering and death cleared away any liens the devil might have on us. And now that He has risen from the dead, He promises us that we who believe in Him will also rise to everlasting life -- new, freshly minted, with the image of God glowing and perfect on us. Because we belong to Jesus.
THE PRAYER: Father, You have put Your image upon me, but I have marred it in many ways. Forgive and restore me in Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.
What kinds of things do you "render to Caesar," whether you want to or not?
What do you render to God? Is there a difference in your attitude toward Him as opposed to Caesar? Why or why not?
God has put His image upon you, just as Caesar put his own image on golden coins. If God has honored you with His image, what does that say about the value He places on you?
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