DAY 4 of 10 - APRIL 13, 2022 Special Devotion Written by Dr. Dan Bolin - Taking a Deeper Look into the Wonder of Easter
The days leading up to Easter were filled with conflict. As Jesus courageously made himself accessible to his adversaries, a group of Pharisees and Herodians tried to force him into a corner with a question that presented no safe response. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we? (Mark 12:14b-15a). If he said ‘yes’, he would be branded as a Roman sympathizer, earning the ire of the Jewish patriots. If he said ‘no’, he would be labeled a criminal, incurring the wrath of the Roman government. Jesus saw through their trickery and quickly turned the tables on his smug opponents. Mark records the encounter, But Jesus knew their hypocrisy, “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. Bring me a denarius and let me look at it. They brought the coin and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this and whose inscription?” “Caesar’s” they replied. Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s!” (Mark 12:15b-17) The coin that Jesus examined had on one side, the image of the Emperor, Tiberius. The other side bore the inscription: Tiberius Caesar Augustus – son of the divine Augustus. The coins were issued by Caesar and used by his subjects to pay the taxes he required. The coin was obviously a part of the world system controlled by those with military, political, and economic power. But Jesus’ Kingdom was not of this world. His concern focused on eternity rather than economics. Jesus came to give life, not receive taxes. His interest was people’s souls and spirits more than their wealth and wallets. The Pharisees and Herodians understood the power of money. Jesus taught the power of God. Jesus delivered the winning salvo with the simple conclusion, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s!” (Mark 12:17) Moving the conversation much deeper, he reminded his attackers, and the crowd, of the opening verses of Genesis. The record of the mysterious deliberation within the Godhead states. “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. . .” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27). Caesar, Emperor of the Mediterranean world, demonstrated his authority and power with the stamp he placed upon the coins he minted and valued. Jesus, King of Kings and Ruler of the Universe, demonstrated his love and power by imprinting his image on the people he created and valued. Caesar minted money that carried his likeness. Jesus created men and women marked with his likeness. A few coins remain for the days of Caesar. Every person will live for eternity. Caesar loved what bore his likeness; he adored his coins – and so did the Pharisees and Herodians. Jesus loved what bore his likeness. Even now, he adores his children. In a few days, His love would demonstrate the full measure of devotion. Jesus willingly endured the agony of Good Friday so that those he loves could more accurately display his image and enjoy the benefits of Easter forever.
Dan Bolin President Refueling in Flight Ministries, Inc