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October 26, 2020 4:00 am
In the Gospel of Mark in chapter 12. The Bible describes an encounter that takes place between Jesus and a group of Pharisees.
Pharisees were known for being legalists and they were opposed to Jesus.
They were trying to trap him with a question today on Truth for Life. Alistair Begg examines Jesus response in a message titled render to Caesar, is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not yes or no. Should we pay then or should we not yes or no. So that approach is insincere. There question is a hot potato. Then thirdly, notice the teacher's response. The teacher's response, Jesus responds with two questions and a statement. First of all a rhetorical question, you will notice that there why put me to the test. Why put me to the text, then he follows it up with a practical question a practical question, the Roman denarius was a small silver coin similar to 1/4 both in terms of volume and size.
Perhaps a little smaller.
It was accepted as payment of taxes in Judea. Why put me to the test bring the brain is aiming to coin is ever going to denarius he says some as is. Yeah, I wondered if flip it to him he takes it he says you look at it. The drama that is involved in this. They've all come together dispatched by the rulers there there with her beginning with nice flattening beginning live build up to their question. They've stated it in categorical terms and and Jesus is our way, put me to the test denarius takes the denarius and he looks at it. They brought one and he said hey who's likenesses on this and whose inscription is on this turning it back and forth, presumably they said to him, Caesar's actually at this point in history Tiberius Caesar Augustus, and on the denarius coin was this designation with his face, son of the Divine Augustus. So in other words, this god with a small G that was represented on the client was the son of further divinity, and on the back. There was a designation of him seated on the throne wearing a dyad then and closed as a high priest, and it actually said on the reverse of the client, the high priest okay so far so good, whose likeness and inscription is this, they said to him, Caesar's Westies is going to say. Picture the scene as he says yes pay the tax. Save us and what he says is exactly what he says. It says render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, whatever he has to raise constipated tax or not, should be paid or not answer yes pay the tax.
Don't allow the five that you know the phrase she's all the things that are Caesar's, you know from watching it on the black and white TV.
Don't let it obscure what he said and asked the question was posed to pay the tax are not yet pay the tax not I must've absolutely incited and immediately Jesus is saying I don't really give any place to the zealots who go to try and run a country within the country. I not allow any of you guys to hang me with the notion that because you don't like what's going on the Roman Empire, you will pay the taxes anymore. There are privileges involved in being part of the Roman Empire. There are responsibilities involved in being part of the Roman Empire part of the responsibilities and paying the tax for pay the tax before that questioners have the opportunity to run down the street shouting. He said yes he said yes he said yes.
He immediately follows up and to God the things that are God's. What is he saying here. This is what he said on that coin that I asked for.
You will find the image of Tiberius. He is the one who minted these coins. He is the one to put them into currency.
He is a justifiable right to the tax that accrues but on your life's there is another image stamped as clearly or more clearly than the image of Tiberius on the Denali's and that is the image of God who made you so therefore your commitment within the framework of the culture to the responsibilities that are represented in Caesar's tax are within the context of your ultimate responsibility to the living God who made you in his image. I remember that from the very outset Jesus has explained to the people. The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news. Jesus is saying I am the king. I am establishing my kingdom and entry to my kingdom is by way of repentance and faith healer deviating from that here the specific question about tags is answered within the wider concentric circle of the individual's responsibility to follow beneath the kingly authority of Christ.
If you like, we might say that Jesus is here putting politics in its place putting politics in its place putting our understanding of one's responsibility to the state with the ultimate understanding of one's responsibility to God and you must think this out for yourselves. It seems clear to me that if Jesus is putting politics in its place. That place is second-rate and not primary, secondary or not primary the issues of political freedom are not being ultimate issues of life and political freedom was the be-all and end-all of what it was to live out your existence. Then there's is one miserable existence of political freedom is not the primary issue.
The kingdoms of this world are not the primary issue is the kingly rule of Christ. And when an individual, myself included, becomes preoccupied with the kingdom or the kingdoms of this world so as to divert me from evangelism source to preoccupy me so as to send me to bed at night stinking mad because everything is going the wrong way. As far as I'm concerned. What I reveal to myself is the flag that I have got these things reverse that I have God, what is second-rate and I made it primary and I've got what is primary and I have needed second, your sons will be able to think about.
That brings me to my final point. Their response and our response. Their response is in one sentence. And they marveled at him and they marveled at remember the response earlier was they just left him and went away. That was inverse in verse 12, wasn't there. They just drift off and here they go off down the street saying it's unbelievable is the week we thought we had.
We thought we put the question together in the perfect way to make sure that he was trapped. Either he was going to incur the displeasure of the people.
If he said yes or if he said no that he was going to raise the risk of the Roman authorities coming to get them as an insurrectionist, but look what he's done to his and they marveled, they marveled at whatever you marveled that God to come here like these, like this unholy alliance is this how you read your Bible.
Is this how you think about things people tell me all the time.
It is a right to me for the radio programs that I have your funny voice on the radio and then and it annoyed me and then I start to listen to you and it annoyed me even more when I everywhere said made me wonder why they're not writing to me and I read on this and we continue to listen to so that we can find out just how wrong you are so that we could finally write and tell you how your head is full of whistles and how you're full of nonsense and most of the time the right to say, but somehow or another we discovered the very reverse to be true in the Bible began to penetrate the shell of our rebellion starts. We eventually come to believe that Jesus over. That's where we started from where you started from your here to examine them intellectually.
But understand this, he examined you spiritually, he examined you spiritually and maybe that little question the rhetorical question is your question today. Jesus is saying to you where you sit or within earshot of what I'm saying to you why put me to the test.
Why put me to the test and I was 20 playing games with me why you play games will be Caesar's Jesus, knowing their hypocrisy, said hey you can hide your lionize in your smile is a thin disguise. Jesus essay. You can come to me and play again. Why, why put me to the test. Are you playing games with Christ. The games people play every night every day. Never think of what they say never. Same with a mean to you while away the hours in your intellectual ivory towers and you find yourself covered up with flowers in the back of a black limousine don't play games with Jesus. Do not play games with Christ. He holds your life in his hands why he put me to the test why you playing games with me screen question is needs to be addressed. Don't try and trap. There is no refuge from him. There is refuge in this stone. If you do not take your stand upon this stone crush second observation I will hasten through them. Secondly, political agendas take a distant second place when we become the disciples of Jesus.
Political agendas take a distant second place what would become the disciples of Jesus you have to do this for your homework.
But I commend to you or a quick glance at Luke chapter 6 and verse 15 when you get to verse 15 of Luke chapter 6, you will find that Luke is recording their the group of disciples who were the followers of Jesus at that point and when you read through the list to find all these different names and one of them. One of the names is, of course, Matthew those of you know your Bible know that Matthew's name was also Levi, and Levi was tax collector that Levi was working for the Roman authorities that Levi was at the forefront of making sure that these taxes were paid properly and they were paid on time. He was the guy who was sending out those notices to check out the returns you a couple of names for their own and who did come up again to come up against Simon, Simon, who is referred to in Mark is the Canaanite is referred to as Simon the zealot in the loop. Verse Simon the zealot, you mean the guy that said there no way in the world that I'm paying taxes due. Not bad. This places. I hate this place is really is gone to pot, paying taxes, so now we got big government. In Matthew there no government in Simon and where you find them united. The only place you will ever find them united in the kingdom of Christ. But as soon as either one of them makes the political agenda. The issue of fellowship and friendship that you've separated them once again as fire safety, whatever my objectives, whatever my concerns whatever my political designs desires whatever my economic theories. They have to be a distant second to my submission to the kingship of Christ doesn't mean that I don't believe what I believe. But it means that I will not exult to a position my belief in the states so as to rob me of meaningful friendship and fellowship with those who have an entirely different perspective on the same subject. Thirdly, the passage also teaches us that there are limits. There are limits to the honor that is due to Caesar. There are limits to the honor that is due to Caesar. Romans chapter 13. The opening verses are there to remind us of our responsibility to the state acts chapter 5 verse 29 judge for yourselves what is right for us to obey the authority 02 obey God willing to obey God.
Acts chapter 5 is there to point out to us that there are limits to the jurisdiction of the state. So when Jesus takes the client. He says who's here and they say Caesar says we should render to Caesar what is due Caesar. What would you Caesar tax but was not due Caesar worship.
Worship Caesar had his face on there is the point of maximum as the high priest in rendering to Caesar what is justifiably his. I am not called upon to render to Caesar what is solely God's. And that is why when you think about this being read in the first century when the early believers were taking the gospel of Mark and reading it through. They were not reading it from the vantage point of our 21st-century democracy, they were reading it from within the framework of a Roman Empire that said to them, you must admit that Caesar is Lord, and he said no he is not Lord Jesus is Lord.
They said you must admit that Caesar is Lord Jesus can be a Lord, but he is not the Lord know they said, Jesus is Lord one day in the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess and their voices I under the sounds of the roar of a lion tearing them to pieces because they are prepared to render to Caesar what is Julius Caesar, but they are unprepared to render in to him. What is Jew to God along and whenever the state seeks to take the place of Almighty God and that insurrection is not only understandable, but is demand and history bears testimony to, and finally the kingdom of Christ takes precedence over every other kingdom over every other kingdom, no matter how much we love where we're from, no matter how much we are thankful for all these things as we all are all of as everyone without exception. Ultimately, the issue is a kingdom in which Christ reigns. And it is made up of the nations of the world under his authority and that's why would you read Revelation, John says the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and all of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. At a very basic level. This helps me go to sleep at night because I am actually a political animal. I have to fight for myself I have to fight my tendency to join all the dogs from my poop in here. Those are my convictions are not in use my poop with to try and influence you in that way even if I could, but I still have to deal with everything that goes on in my head and it is this that helps me get to sleep. The kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he will reign for ever and ever. If history goes on for another two millennia. If we are at the infancy of humanity rather than at the end of humanity as every self-centered generation who always believes the older you get to death, the more convinced you are about the return of Jesus Christ.
You know Wally will be the end anytime. Now I'm in a that's will will be wrapping the whole thing up and sits over know you.
We made we may be in the forefront of that we maybe had the knife it well then what's your courage what your confidence. How do you how do you go to bed.
How do you think about your shoulder and your grandchildren, your great grandchildren your great great great great great great great grandchildren in the world that you cannot even conceive how do you go to sleep. The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he will reign for ever and ever. Okay I'm going to sleep in just a moment will pause with Alastair beg for prayer, so please keep listening. This is Truth for Life. Today's message is titled render to Caesar, enclosing his message. Alastair reminded us that the kingdom of Christ takes precedence over every other kingdom right now as the public discourse is flooded with heated political conversations.
It's comforting to know that God's rule is sovereign, his kingdom will reign forever and ever. This is also one of the reasons we find comfort in looking at the history of the Puritans. The Puritans were a faithful group of believers who respected God's authority and demonstrated their humility in some amazing ways. They burned with a deep love for God for his word and for his glory today were making available a wonderful documentary that tells the story of the birth of the Puritan age. It's called Puritan all of life, to the glory of God will send you the two DVD set when you requested, along with your donation to support Truth for Life. This documentary is powerful that the masterful storytelling in this film and the commentary from experts will help you come to know the Puritans in a way that your whole family will appreciate many of the Puritan leaders were prolific writers. They wrote classic books that are still with us today that were all about how we can bring glory to God.
Again, the documentary comes on two DVDs. One DVD is the full length documentary, the other contains special features.
There's also a streaming link if you'd rather stream the documentary there are a number of pastors and theologians were interviewed in this film, including Albert Mohler, Sinclair Ferguson, like JI Packer and Kevin DeYoung to request your copy of the documentary on the Puritans right now. Go to Truth for Life.org/donate or tap the DVD image on the mobile app you can also call 888-588-7884 to send your contribution along with your request for the DVD in the mail. We could write to us the Truth for Life PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139.
Now here's Alastair to lead us in prayer. Father, help us to figure this stuff out. Save us from error. Save us from being unduly influenced by anything other than the truth of your Word and the glory of your son.
We really need your help. These are critical days in our country, the decisions that are being made at the highest level have ramifications in the realm of family in the realm of faith in the realm of human identity in the realm of medical ethics. So help is then Lord to be wise wise as serpents and harmless as dots help us to take seriously our responsibilities in terms of all your word says concerning the affairs of civil jurisdiction when the tide seems to go from our perspective. Most strongly against us. Help us to keep our eyes on. He who is the King of Kings and the Lord of lords into him the blessed and only sovereign the King of Kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one is ever seen or can see to him and to him along the honor and eternal dominion now and forever more.
Amen. Glad you have been able to join us today Tuesday will hear Alastair describe another challenge from Jesus detractors, this time from the Sadducees, you will be encouraged by Jesus masterful response to their challenge.
I'm Bob Lapine, Bible teaching of Alastair beg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living