God & Government

They tried to trap Jesus between politics and faith, between government and God. “Jesus, should we pay taxes?” It’s a simple question, yes or no?

This strategy tried to get Jesus into a legal quagmire. If Jesus said they ought to pay taxes to Caesar, then that would put Him in trouble with the religious authorities. If He said they should not pay taxes, then those loyal to the Roman government would arrest Him for treason.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at him,” Mark 12:17 ESV.  We should be good citizens and at the same time be loyal to God. Most of the time we can do both without contradiction.

But when government requires disobedience to God, then we must obey God rather than men. Hobby Lobby refused to violate the sanctity of human life by providing birth control that caused an abortion. The Supreme Court agreed. Christians in China must disobey the government in order to obey Jesus when they seek to lead others to be Christ’s disciples, which often results in a three-year prison sentence.

Our culture is pressuring us to express our faith privately, but don’t express it at school, work, or the public square. For example, Martin Castro, chairman of the Civil Rights Commission said, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”

So now if I claim my constitutional right to ‘religious freedom,’ it will be assumed by many that it is a “code word” for hate.  To proclaim Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life is now considered an unacceptable “form of intolerance” or “Christian supremacy.”

Disciples of Jesus, stay true to your Lord, endure the rejection, and keep sharing the love of Jesus. The world rejected Jesus and the world continues to reject His followers.

Our Father, thank-you for loving us so much that you provided your Son as a sacrifice for our sins so we can be put in right relationship with You through faith in Jesus Christ.

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Amen.