Welcome to my blog!

Thank you for dropping by to spend time with me. I will try to post at least once a week. I value your comments and insights, so please - respectfully - share your opinion with us. Be blessed! Lynnda

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bearing the Image

It was such a simple sentence: "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Luke 20:25, ESV)

The Jewish religious leaders set a trap for Jesus and that was His answer. They asked Him if it were lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. On one hand, if He said yes, then He might lose some of His popularity with the average Isralite, for they held Him in high esteem. However, Rome taxed Israel heavily and unceasingly, so most Israelites might find a positive answer reason enough to reject Jesus.

 If Jesus said no, then the Jewish religious leaders could charge Him with treason against the Roman Empire before Pilate. That answer would suit these leaders even better. Crucifixion was the penalty for treason. Death would absolutely resolve the possibility that Jesus would take their power and wealth away from them.

 Jesus, however, was smarter then these crafty men. He asked them to bring Him a Roman coin, a denarius. In my imagination, I can see Him taking the coin and turning it over in His hand as He looked down at it. Then holding it up for His questioners to see He said, "Whose image is on it?" Caesar's, they replied. "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

For these Jewish religious leaders, who were also knowledgeable about the Jewish Torah – their version of the Old Testament – they recognized what Jesus was saying. The Romans stamped their denarius with the image of Caesar. The religious rulers knew that Genesis 1:27 (ESV) says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him..." While Jesus acknowledged Caesar's right to levy taxes, He also threw down God's claim for the hearts and souls for humanity; God made us in His image. The religious leaders did not want to hear that answer. They were more interested in political power and gathering wealth than in responding to God's constraints.

Do we respond to God's declaration of this fact as the Jewish religious leaders did? We also, must recognize that we, who were created in His image, belong to Him. When Jesus told the Jews "to render," He was saying to return or to yield the taxes to Caesar and likewise to return or to yield ourselves to God.

The apostle Paul expanded on this idea when he said (in Romans 12:1, ESV), "…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" and (in Ephesians 4:24, ESV) "…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." What was true for these Jewish religious leaders is even truer for us.

The next time you see me trying to get my own way, would you remind me of this? And the next time you don't want to obey God, pull out a quarter and look at it. Remember that God has a much higher, prior claim to our lives than anything else in this world, because He made us in His image.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Promise He Kept and Will Keep

Jesus was talking to His disciples when He said (in Matthew 16:28, ESV), "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom

That literally took place on several occasions following His statement: (1) when Jesus stood in His glory on the mountain - before Peter, James and John, (2) after His resurrection - to numerous disciples, (3) when Jesus was taken up into Heaven, and finally, (4) to the Apostle John when Jesus appeared to him on the island of Patmos.

However, I believe Jesus' prophetic statement applies to more than the people who were physically standing with Him before His death. (See Escher and Prophecy Fulfillment to read the basic premise.) The statement seems likely to be appropriate for other generations.

Jesus' words reverberate down the strand of time as His kingdom becomes more visible.

» The apostle Paul identifies one generation in 1Corinthians 15:23 when he talks about Jesus returning to raise the dead in Christ and to change His followers who still live.

» Jesus speaks of an occasion when everyone alive will see Him in Matthew chapter 24. There, He and His disciples discuss the signs of the end of the age. Jesus tells them that His coming will be not in secret, but similar to a lightning strike where all can see it.

» Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV) tells us of a powerful event fulfilling His statement: "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." In a future age, even the mention of His Name provides evidence that He has come into His kingdom.

As Christians living in a fallen world, we long to see Jesus honored in every way. Now, we see His kingdom come one lost sinner at a time as they find new life in Him. Nevertheless, a day is coming when "some standing here will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Jesus says in Revelations 22:20, "Surely I am coming soon."

So be it. Come, Lord Jesus.