Jesus had been telling stories, called parables, and in many of them the Jewish religious leaders fared badly. So badly, they wanted him gone, if not dead. To this end, they posed questions of him publicly to discredit him. Some Pharisees and Herodians came together to ask Jesus, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Mark 12:14). But Pharisees and Herodians don’t come together; they don’t like each other. The Herodians were pro-Rome, while the Pharisees were fiercely anti-Rome, and that was the trap of the question. Yes or no, either answer would get Jesus in trouble, so he said both. Jesus asked for a coin (he didn’t have one), and noting the image of Caesar on it, said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Jesus is saying, it’s Caesar’s money, it’s his picture on it, so give it to him; and give to God what has his image. “So God created man in his own image, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26). Caesar gets his money, but he does not get you.
The problem is power; we want it, and God has it. Caesar is legitimate, but there will be many Caesars. “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Mark 13:8), each vying for dominion; but there is one King of kings, and at the end of time, “they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26). The disciples want to know when, so they will be ready. “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:32-33).
Growing up at home, my dad popped into my room every so often. Just to say “hi,” to see how things were going. I didn’t have a lock on my bedroom door; wasn’t allowed to. It was my bedroom, but it was Mom and Dad’s house. No locking them out. Sometimes he knocked, more often he didn’t. Sometimes my bedroom door would suddenly swing open, which meant it could suddenly swing open anytime. Some of my friends hid stuff in their rooms. Stuff they didn’t want their parents to see. Not me.
Lord God, I look forward to Your return. I know when You come back, it will be as victorious Savior, King of kings. You will put all things in order. Sin, evil, pain, and tears will be no more. The world will be filled with Your glory, holiness, love, beauty. It will be good.
May I be a light in this world, illuminating Your Kingdom to a world that needs to see what is ahead. When You come, Lord, may You find me living a life reflecting Your glory.