Anglican Morning Devotion for 17 March 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. 21And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: 22Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? 23But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? 24Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s. 25And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s. 26And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.” (Luke 20:20-26; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Each coin and instrument of currency of every nation is sealed by its stamp and authority just as are all contracts of legal force in a nation. On most metal coins, there will usually be depicted a bust of some notable political leader of the nation. The same principle holds true for the people of God – they bear the seal and likeness of the issuing authority (God Almighty). The image and superscription bears the value inscribed on its face just as the Christian in bearing the likeness and image of our Lord Jesus Christ in all that we do, say, or think. But like federal currency, the Christian image too often fluctuates in value when the image depicted becomes too taken for granted and common.
The introductory text above is all about that authority vested in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and King. The Jewish rulers felt threatened in their soft and easy lifestyles by the teachings of Jesus that were made available to the poor shepherd as well as to royalty. Like the modern church, they placed a higher premium upon wealth and power than upon the true promises of God. They resented the thought of humbling themselves as little children and following the Lord of Glory, their Maker, Jesus Christ.
The Jewish leadership was not, by any means united in doctrine. The Sadducees did not believe in a life hereafter – one must grab all the wealth possible in this life for there would be no joy in the grave. The Pharisees did believe in a hereafter, but not a Messiah who would refuse the secular throne. The other Jewish rulers did not believe much of anything except power and money. So, all these forces, unfriendly one to another, joined forces against the common enemy they saw in the Lord Jesus Christ. They KNEW who He was, but still opposed Him. All the world still joins forces, even if enemies apart, against the Lord of Heaven.
They set their feeble trap as always, they did so by attempting to get Him to either deny the duty to pay tribute to the Roman government, or else admit the obligation. In the first instant, He would incur the wrath of Caesar; in the second He would arouse the umbrage of the people. But Jesus turned the tables on these scoundrels. The coin revealed the obligation to government – that which is sealed by the world belongs to the world; and that which bears the seal of God belongs to God. Of course, there are counterfeit dollars as well as counterfeit Christians. Both appear to bear the seal of the issuing authority. A counterfeit silver-plated coin will eventually reveal the cheap metal underneath the silver cladding with use. A silver coin sterling will endure its silver nature forever. The same is true with the true Christian and the false. The character of the hypocrite will eventually wear thin so that the real character comes to light over time; but a sincere Christian will remain so through times of joy, trial, tribulation and sword. Counterfeit money and counterfeit Christians are alike in so many ways. Just as counterfeit money can be revealed by close inspection, so can the counterfeit Christian’s hypocrisy be revealed by detailed observation over time.
The world has trouble dealing with people of faith whose minds cannot be molded by temptation of riches, power, prestige, or ungodly desire. Such people cannot be easily ruled by perverse governments. A true Christian cannot easily reconcile slavery to the world with the freedom made available in the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God created man and woman in His image, but that image was marred in Eden. “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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:26-27) Have you, my friends, been melted by the Refiner and made new in Christ?
The Christian coinage must be melted down by the Refiner’s Fire and made new in order to bear that likeness and image of God.