Acting for God

Acting for God  ||  Mark 12:13-17  ||  Merdice Cumberbatch

This text is about ‘The Question of Paying Taxes.’ The Pharisees and the Herodians conspired together to trap Jesus in his own words. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” (v14).

Jesus knew that their approach was hypocritical. If He answered yes, he would contradict his very own teaching; if he answered no, it would mean that it is okay to disobey the Roman Empire. Jesus knew they were attempting to have him jammed up, so he flipped the script and trapped them with their own words instead. Jesus said, “bring me a denarius (coin) and let me see it” (v15). And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s” (v16). Jesus said to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (v17).

In essence, Jesus’ teaching makes it clear that we should be willing to be subject to political authorities so long as it does not compromise our allegiance to Him. However, just as denarii belong to Caesar because they bear his image, the whole of one’s life belongs to God because people bear the image of God including Ceasar and his taxes.

How does one act for God? By rendering to God what is God’s. By showing up for God not just in our presence but by our actions of love, kindness, giving, and ministry. By being obedient to Him because obedience is better than sacrifice. By obeying God’s Word and giving ourselves back to Him through faith, commitment, and service because we belong to Him. Everything belongs to God!

Jesus gave his very life to God, the ultimate act of sacrifice. He was obedient to Him first by fulfilling his assignment in life, then until His death on that old rugged cross. He did not dip out and skip town when time was nearing, He remained steadfast. How hard that must have been for Him, but He did it anyhow. We too must fulfill our purpose for God through acts of service for His Kingdom. How Gracious and Merciful God is to allow us to do so by giving our body to Him as a living sacrifice instead of by death.

Prayer: Most Gracious and Merciful God, thank you for your love, the love of Jesus. A love like no other. Thank you for your grace and your mercy and allowing us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice back to you through spiritual service. Amen and Asé!
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