Republican or Democrat? Conservative or liberal? Politically active or passively indifferent? Does God really care? And, more specifically, what is God’s perspective on the role of politics in the life of the Christ follower?
- What are the primary issues that tend to draw you into heated political dialogue?
- What causes you to lose sight of God’s perspective in the midst of political unrest?
READ THE WORD: MARK 12:13-17 (ESV)
13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 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.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- The statement and question put to Jesus in verses 14-15 were a trap. Either a yes or a no answer would have gotten Jesus in trouble. “Yes” would have discredited him with those who found Roman rule reprehensible and unacceptable. “No” would have made him subject to arrest for rebellion against the government. How did the response of Jesus expose the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the Herodians?
- What does it mean to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”? Who is Caesar in your life, and what is Caesar’s in your life?
- What does it mean to give back “to God the things that are God’s”? Who is God? What is his role in your life? What do you have that belongs to God?
RESPOND TO GOD
In just a few words, Jesus gave his followers a pattern for how to live a life of total allegiance to God, while at the same time living with a right view toward those in political leadership. This is a delicate balance. We tend to go to extremes—either trusting in politics or ignoring them altogether.
- Confess to God your need for his wisdom and understanding toward political leadership.
- Pray for your political leaders—the president, Congress, the governor, and local officials. Ask the Lord to empower you to honor them by praying that they would experience God’s reign in their lives to accomplish his will.
- Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). Ask God to create in you a sincere trust in his character, nature, and truth above people and institutions that are temporary.