Prayer: Thank you, God, for your healing presence; you are amazing and revealed through your Word and the world around us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
22 When they heard this, they were amazed.
The Pharisee’s disciples and the Herodians who were sent to test Jesus. They wanted to entrap Jesus into saying something they could use against Him. This is one of many attempts to destroy Jesus’ credibility with the people. What was amazing, was Jesus skill in knowing why they were there and what they were trying to do. Jesus also gave answers and often left them with questions of His own.
Our devotion writer did not see why the people were amazed. But many Jews of the time were convinced that God’s Messiah would come to throw off Roman rule. They believed the taxes were an illegal burden and expected that Jesus would have spoken against paying taxes. But Jesus was not going to give them they answer they expected, but He gave them the truth, that following Roman law did not interfere with following God. They were amazed because Jesus did not speak against Rome and left them speechless.
We are very fortunate in our country that we are free to speak out when we think taxes, or anything else are wrong or excessive. In Jesus’ day speaking out against taxes could have resulted in jail or prison. It is amazing that God has given us this country to live in where we have freedom of speech and will not be arrested for speaking our mind.
Prayer: “Lord, amaze us with your glory and astound us with your love, through Christ. Amen.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Question about Paying Taxes
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “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. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.