October 22, 2015
Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 24
First Reading: Exodus 33:12-23
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-22
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
AN IMAGE OF GOD
Last Sunday, we were talking about the parable that Jesus used Saying
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.”
Jesus had upset the Pharisees and the Chief priest, they are hearing insult after insult, they are not happy with Jesus, in the temple.
He has run those out of the temple, who were selling and buying. Jesus, reminded them, the Temple was a place for prayer not a market.
In all Jesus’s parables, the pharisees realize, he has been talking about them. They have now decided to try and trick Jesus in our lesson today.
“Jesus cannot be tricked.”
Jesus Is still in Jerusalem; The Pharisees have come up with a scheme.
“The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said.”
Here comes some of the Pharisees disciples and the Herodians, People who were loyal to King Herod. Funny how people will plot together and these were far from being fuzzy friends.
The Pharisees, did not want to pay taxes to their oppressors, who were pagans and so paying taxes to Rome, the Pharisees, apposed this. But King Herod’s position came with power, thanks to the Romans. It is all about the money, and who’s face is on the money, Jesus could be tripped up in who he sides with.
He cannot speak against the tax, that would anger the Herodians and could lead to treason against Rome. If Jesus spoke in favor of the tax, it would cause problems with all those who followed him.
“Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”
Jewish laws, they are not supposing to pay taxes to and empire.
Did you notice how nice they are to Jesus…” Teacher, we know that you are sincere!” Jesus knows they are testing him and He calls them hypocrites?
He has them show him the head of the coin and tells them to give to the emperor what is his and to God the things that are God’s!
The denarius they showed Jesus, there was an image of the empire on one side and the image of a women on the other side name Pax.
An image of anyone on the coins was against Jewish laws, “Moses Law”
The answer that Jesus gives, comes from Genesis 1:26-27, which says, “And God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” “So, God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them.”
Confusing but God did create Ceasar in his image, so he should have the coins.
Jesus, makes this all irrelevant, the money and taxes, He affirms the taxes, yes, we do owe the state, there is however limits.
I have here a couple of coins, they are the dollars that came out a few years ago.
This one is our first president, George Washington, someone to be admired because of him being the first president. I also have one of Sacagawea, the Shoshone women, a teenager I might add, that helped Lewis and Clarks expedition in achieving their mission by exploring the Louisiana Territory. She traveled thousands of miles form North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean.
What most I like about her coin, is it has “In God We Trust.” I looked at several of the coins and not all of them have this quote. Not, sure why?
It is not who is on the coin, but to remember, that, the person, was created in the image of God. And the coin spends the same, but when we give it away, we are giving God’s love and trust.
We need to live more fully into the image and likeness of God, that my friends, is who we are, if we believe in the scriptures, we believe that, we are in God and God is in us.
The story proves that religion is a matter of the heart, and that God does not care about the tireless things, like where or what you do with your money.
He knows that we must have money to survive with, but to keep in mind that we are also, to give back to God, we are created in his image and we are to be his disciples to the rest of the world, teaching that life begins in the image of God.
Jesus is the promised Savior the one whom God fulfilled the promises he made to his people.
The good news is, it was not just only for the Jewish people, whom Jesus was with, but for the whole world.
We have given ourselves to God and when we did this, we were promised that God would love us forever.
We were made in his image; we are free to give to all who ask, share to those about the kingdom of God and tell the good news to everyone.
We must never forget to render unto God the things that are God’s and In God we do trust.
The Reverend Lola Culbreath