The Image of God
In the Gospel, there are many interesting interactions that reveal incredibly profound truths and revelations. One of which is found in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 22.
17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Likely, you're familiar with this story, but let's dig deeper into it and draw out some fresh nutrients. The Pharisees were trying to set Jesus up. They have sent their own disciples, along with some from a group known as the Herodians, in an effort to trap Jesus. The purpose of their trick question is to either have Jesus declare that paying taxes to Rome is mandatory, alienating His followers, or declare that it should not be paid, labeling him as a rebel, leading to prosecution.
Jesus sees through their malice and feeble attempt and comes back with a masterful answer, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Why did He say this? The best way to understand it is to look closely at what Jesus did. He asked for a denarius and has asked whose image and inscription is on the coin. The people gathered there would have understood this even if they hadn't seen the coin. In Israel, the denarius was a required currency. It was quickly pointed out that the coin bore Caesar's name and inscription.
Here’s the big revelation!
Jesus' answer provokes a very important question: if we owe Caesar that which bears his image, what then do we owe God? The clear answer is that we owe God that which bears the image of God. And WE bear the image of God! There is a profound implication here, pointing back to God's creation of humanity in His image.
Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Every person bears the image of God. As a result, all humanity is His, including us. It is clear from Jesus' comment that we are responsible not only for giving money to governments, but He took it as an opportunity to teach a profound lesson—that more than anything else we must give ourselves to God. He said it Himself, “render to God the things that are God’s.”
We belong to Him! All who bear His image must surrender all to Him.
God is not just looking for just your Sunday morning commitment. He’s looking for your total surrender and devotion to Him. He’s looking for your heart.
The apostle Paul alludes to this when he talked about being crucified with Christ:
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Are you fully surrendered? Are you living for the One who created you and gave Himself for you?
Be reminded that you are His beloved and that you bear the image of God. But with that should come the desire to render to Him what belongs to Him—YOU! We belong to Him! So today, ask God to reveal the areas of your life that are not fully surrendered. Carefully examine your heart, examine your life and examine your habits. Where have we gone off track? Where have we stumbled? Let’s get back on track and realign ourselves with this mentality. That we belong to Him, we bear His image, and we will live a fully surrendered life to Him.