30 for 30

Day Twentythree

Stop

Good morning. Wherever you are, take a deep breath and pause for a few moments. Allow your mind and body to rest and become aware of God’s presence with you.

Lamentations 2: 22-23 says: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Right now, His love and mercy are fresh for you. Ready and waiting for you. Rest for 5 minutes in His love and receive afresh His mercy.

Look

Read Matthew 22. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. You may want to make notes, underline in your bible or journal all that God is saying.

Thought of the day

Matthew 22: 19-21 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

What do you love about Jesus? It’s a good question. I wonder if you’ve ever stopped to think about it.

I love Jesus for so many reasons, and a couple of the reasons I love Jesus are found in this passage.

Firstly, it says in verse 16 that Jesus doesn’t care about anyone’s opinion. He’s not swayed by appearances.

Wow. How incredible is this? Jesus never ever lived at the whim of what others thought of Him. He never lived under the fear of man. Jesus was never bound to other people’s expectations and lived 100% totally for the affection and affirmation of His Father in Heaven. He embodied living for the audience of one.

Secondly, I love how Jesus responded to traps and malicious people. Full of grace. Full of invitation.

Jesus was a genius. He operated in a wisdom the likes of which the World had never seen. Time and again the Pharisees try to catch Him out, and every time Jesus answers with such brilliance.

This response was more than a way out – even in Jesus’ answer there is remarkable insight.

They try and catch Jesus in a trap. They ask Him whether paying taxes to Caesar was right or not.

One commentator explains this question: ‘They thought that if Jesus said it was right to pay taxes, they could discredit him with the people who hated Rome and for whom these taxes were a much resented burden. He would lose an enormous amount of popular support and could be dismissed as a collaborator. He might even be refused as the Messiah because it was understood that one of the functions of the Messiah was to drive out any occupying power and establish the Davidic kingdom. On the other hand, if Jesus said that they should resist Rome by refusing to pay taxes, then his enemies could denounce him to the authorities as a dangerous insurrectionist.’

Either way, Jesus would have been attacked.

Yet, in Jesus’ genius, he provides a remarkable answer.

‘Take out a coin.’

‘Whose image is on the coin?’

‘Give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, give to God that which belongs to God.’

Jesus honours governmental authority whilst at the same time recognizing its limits.

But there’s more.

If the pharisees were as smart as they thought, they would have asked Jesus another question:

Well then, what belongs to God?

To which Jesus might have replied: ‘Whose image is on you?’

Pray

‘Your Kingdom Come.’ Spend the next few moments praying for God’s Kingdom to come through our church. Pray for our compassion ministries and our Big Christmas Giveaway. Pray for our Food Bank, Growbaby, CMA and all the other outreach we’re doing. Pray for Alpha, for Sundays, for our online presence. In Hull as it is in Heaven!

Live

Take a notepad and pen and make a list of as many reasons you love Jesus as you can think of.