The Gospel of Matthew

Belonging

This devotional is written by Chrissie Connolly. I'm a long term member of St. Mary's, who loves having adventures around the globe and can't wait to jet off again soon!

Matthew  22:15-22

Paying the poll-tax to Caesar

 15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. 'Teacher,' they said, 'we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the poll-tax[a] to Caesar or not?'

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, 'You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.' They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, 'Whose image is this? And whose inscription?'

21 'Caesar's,' they replied.

Then he said to them, 'So give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.'

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Reflection

At the time of this teaching, Jesus had just entered Jerusalem for the final time having recently finished sharing parables with his followers. As we all know, Jesus had his enemies who would do anything to stop him in his tracks. The Pharisees and the Herodians were usually enemies of each other, however they teamed up to try and trick Jesus with what they thought was a foolproof plan. It was to ask Jesus whether it was right to pay the Roman taxes. If Jesus agreed with paying taxes then his followers would hate him, as they were being persecuted by the Romans; if he said taxes should not be paid then he could be arrested for crimes against Caesar - win, win right?

 Wrong! Jesus knew exactly what they wanted to achieve and provided an answer that they never thought of - 'Give Caesar what is Caesar's and God what is God's.' Jesus outlines that as Christian's we have a dual citizenship, one of earth and the other of the Kingdom of God. It is important for us to be part of the world and adire to the laws of the land, but we must also recognise and acknowledge that we are also part of the Kingdom of God. God made us in his image and we belong to Him. For this we have to give ourselves over to Him, to worship Him and try our best to live our lives through Him. In return we receive everlasting love from God, no matter what and a belonging to the body of Christ.

Reflection To whom do you belong to today?
Do you recognise your dual citizenship?

Spend some time now listening to some worship songs praising God for who he is and to reconnect with your citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

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