Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A coin trick.

"Doug Adams notes that when Jesus asks the Pharisees to produce a coin, they do so...
Even though a strictly pious Jew would never carry a coin bearing the emperor's image with an inscription proclaiming him to be king and God!

These presumed righteous citizens are thus carrying around coins that break two commandments! The behaviour of the Pharisees is incriminating,
embarrassing, and amusing, to say the least.

And certainly noted by all the ordinary people who have had to 'toe the line'!
Robert Funk suggested there is no indication that Jesus returned the coin to the Pharisees. According to Funk, as Jesus proclaims the punch line -"and (pay) God what belongs to God!" he pockets the coin and has the last laugh. (i really like that image)

There is a lesson from Jesus in humour and debating skills and some deeper meaning, Perhaps it is not guidance for taxation or political authority/

But it does raise the provocative and still relevant question:
What belongs to God? What belongs to the emperor?
And what if 'the emperor' is Mugabe, or school yard bullies, or global capitalism, or al Qaeda?

The issue here is not just about money, it is about obedience to the state. Sometimes the church has chosen to disobey the law of the state for a greater law. 
In this story Jesus is anything but stupid and knows, as we do in our hearts, that there are times when there is a conflict between what the state demands and what our faith tells us to do. What would Jesus do when this happens? We need only look again to the cross to see what happens to Jesus when the state demanded worship and Jesus would only obey the law of his God.

Perhaps we still need to ponder this story some more. Perhaps another take on this story is for us to really ponder what impact it has upon us, upon our church, to really know that all/everything belongs to God."

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