Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mark 12 Render Unto God

Mar 12:14  And when they were come, they say unto him, Teacher, we know that thou art true, and carest not for any one; for thou regardest not the person of men, but of a truth teachest the way of God: Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
15)  Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why make ye trial of me? bring me a denarius, that I may see it.
16)  And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's.
17)  And Jesus said unto them, Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's. And they marvelled greatly at him.

I'm sure many of you have read or heard this passage before; probably in the context of paying taxes. That is a valid lesson from the passage, but, as is usual with God's word, there is more. I want to point out something relating to "image and superscription" in verse 16.

Jesus asks whose image and superscription are on the coin He has been given, and He is told that they are Caesar's. Then in verse 17 He says, in effect, that the image and the writing on the coin indicate that it belongs to Caesar. (Did you ever think that the money in your pocket belongs to the ruler or government of your country? I suppose not, most people think it belongs to them...)

Going back to our passage, we read that Jesus also says that there are things which belong to God. What could that possibly mean?

The Bible will interpret itself, and the Holy Spirit will teach us correct understanding, so let's find out who or what carries God's image and writing, since that is what shows ownership here.

Gen 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27)  And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Ah-ha! MAN (male and female) was created in God's image! But what about writing? The coin had Caesar's image and writing...

In the Old Testament, God's words were written on stone, and there is no OT verse in which God says He has written anything on man. But in the New Testament we learn that the Gentiles, who were not given the written law, had something written on them:
Rom 2:14  For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15)  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;
This is sometimes called natural law. What it means is that everyone, in every culture, has a knowledge of right and wrong: God's law written on their hearts.

So, going back to the passage in Mark, what are we to give to God? That which is made in His image and bears His writing. Our bodies are made in His image, and our hearts have His law written on them. We are His, and we are to give ourselves to Him.