Jesus was asked, “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar,” (Matt 21:17)? He replied, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s,” (21). Those who asked the question were stunned and retreated from him. In their retreat they left a question unasked, “What is God’s?”
Tomorrow we remember 9/11. We remember where we were when we heard the news, remember the pain, remember the sorrow, and remember how we pulled together. The events of that day affected many in the careers they chose going forward. Some joined the military, some became police and firemen, and some became doctors and nurses. Many of those who responded did so out of love and respect for the government and as a way of honoring God.
Tragedies effect our lives, but we must remember to answer that unasked question, “What is God’s?” Christian bare the image of God, and therefore, we us must not forget our first allegiance is always to Him. Thus we fight to overcome evil with the gospel, bringing real peace through the blood of Jesus’ Cross. We love our enemies and overcome their evil through the workings of the Holy Spirit. We love our country and we obey our government, but we do so out of obedience to God and His Kingdom. We must always be aware that our allegiance to a state, political party, or a leader does not infringe on the second half of Jesus’ statement. Since everything belongs to God, ultimately our allegiance must first always be to God.
After Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem he went to the temple. Mark 11:11 says he, “Went to the temple. He looked around at everything …” In the Greek language, “Looked around,” is just one word. A literal understanding of this word is, “He looked round about upon all things.” The idea is Jesus looked thoroughly into what was going on at the temple, and He gave deep thought to what he saw.
The next day Jesus returned to the temple and, having looked round about upon all things, He knew the ideals of God were not being maintained. Therefore he cast out the merchants, the money changers, and would not allow merchants to shortcut through the temple. With the temple gleaned, Jesus is then seen standing guard over the temple and using if for its intended purpose. This is a beautiful picture of Christ as Lord and Master of the temple healing sick people with children singing hymns around Him. For a moment God’s Temple was used for its intended purpose.
Today the temple is gone, but a new temple can be found. It is found in the body of every believer. When a person accepts Christ’s offer of salvation, He comes into that person and looks round about upon all things, and whatever is there that does not uphold the ideals of God He casts out. According to 2Cor. 6:16 the Christian then becomes the temple of the living God. If the Christian’s body is God’s Temple, isn’t it time we began treating it like it is?