Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar!

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Welcome back to the Boyds
It’s great to have with us as our speakers this morning David and Prue Boyd, former parishioners here who have been serving with the Church Missionary Society in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the last three years. David and Prue were featured at yesterday’s CMS event, and we look forward to hearing about their work in one of the poorest and most violence-ridden countries in the world. David helps train Anglican clergy and Prue is an
audiologist – one of just two in a country with more than twice the population of Australia’s.

Gospel Reading for today:

You sometimes hear people say that religion ought to be kept separate from
politics. Jesus is not of this view, because he understands that politics is
all about people, and people are of primary concern to God. The Pharisees of
Jerusalem tried to trap Jesus on this issue. They buttered Jesus up with
flattery before asking him whether it was right for Jews to pay the Roman
imperial tax or not.  If he said either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in reply he would
condemn himself, either with the people or with the Emperor. Jesus calls for
one of the coins used to pay that tax – the ‘denarius’. ‘Whose image and
inscription is on the coin?’, he asks. ‘Caesar’s,’ they reply. Well then, he
replies, ‘give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar what belongs to Caesar,
and to God what belongs to God.’
In what way is this political?  Jesus was saying that people ought to give
back to Caesar the disgusting idolatrous coin (it had a graven image on it)
that came from him and belonged to him. And he was implying at the same time
that people ought to give their true allegiance and whole loyalty to God,
whose imperial rule he was proclaiming as ‘the Kingdom of God’ in opposition
to Caesar.  In addition he may have been implying that the land of Israel
ought to be given back out of Roman occupation into God’s realm.  Each of
these issues was highly political in nature, and Jesus’ views a capital
offence, but he had avoided falling into the Pharisees’ trap by answering
‘yes’ or ‘no’.


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