Teaching my children the coins, I needed to explain the men who decorate the front. Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, on our penny…I went on up the line. It was interesting to me then, when my pastor of the little Calvary Chapel we attend, was explaining the denarius, one of the coins of Jesus’ day.
In the book of Matthew chapter 22, starting in verse 15, the hypocritical leaders of the day are looking to entangle Jesus in his own words. So they ask him if it’s lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not. They wanted to catch him being a contradictory blow-it. If Jesus said no, don’t pay taxes, they would catch him doing something illegal. If Jesus said yes, pay your taxes, than they would scorn him for idolatry. You see, Caesar’s face was on that coin.
Jesus had someone hold it up, allowing the sunlight to reflect off of the metal. I imagine them squinting, unable to help themselves from looking at the coin, suspended high in the fingers of a man. The sun light refracting off, and straight into a person’s heart. “Show me a denarius. Who’s image and inscription does it have?” Jesus asked loudly to all who would hear. A rhetorical question.
“Caesar’s!” A few clarified at once, with barely suppressed mockery.
And He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s!”
What is God’s?
In Genesis chapter 1 verse 26 God says, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;…verse 27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Way back in the beginning, whether you call Him your delight or not, God made an inscription on you. You are made in God’s image, a reflection of The Maker Himself.
So the coin of Jesus’s day had the image of a man. Give to Caesar what is his. The taxes…
But you and I were made in the image of God. Give to God what is rightfully His, by authorship. Our bodies, our minds, our hearts…our very lives.