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)
In Jesus' day, people were having trouble giving to the government what was due it. Today as followers of Jesus Christ, we seem to be having trouble rendering to God what belongs to God.
“Christian” is a category in a believer’s life in Jesus that should be higher and greater than “American” or “Democrat” or “Republican.” But as we watch this Covid year election play out, it seems our isolation and desperation has caused many of us to put our greatest effort into “saving our nation” by fighting for who is president of the United States and who governs our Congress.
Please know responsible politics is important within Jesus' statement. Jesus wanted the disciples in his day to render to Caesar what belonged to Caesar, but He didn’t want the disciples to render to Caesar what belonged to God.
God tells us that we are to have no other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3). We are to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37). This means that at the end of the day, our greatest trust is in His Sovereignty over our nation not our ability or someone else’s ability.
As I take inventory of the landscape of our nation, I have been greatly disappointed this past year in both the Democrats and the Republicans.
Early this year the rioting and looting was overwhelming to behold, and the Democratic party had no problem blaming President Trump for the damage and causalities that took place. Then in the beginning of this year, we saw the devastating destruction that took place at the nation’s Capitol and the Republicans sought to return the favor by saying the Democrats didn’t take responsibility earlier this year for the causalities and the damage.
Then as Congress opened its first session of this year, they concluded their prayer by praying to Brahma and saying A-men and A-Women at the end of the prayer and seeking opportunity to remove any of the personal pronouns that have existed in our language for the almost 250 years of our nation’s existence. This I suppose is an indictment on the entire history of our nation including both Democrats and Republicans. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi followed up her remarks with referring to the Capitol as the “Temple of Democracy.”
In the midst of this rhetoric, President Trump held a press conference the day before the official vote in Congress to publicly press his vice president to call for a recount and invalidate the electoral college. He went on to say that VP Mike Pence is a good man, and he likes him, but if he doesn’t do what he is asking him to do, he will no longer like him. It grieved me to watch him throw a great man of God like Pence under the bus.
If the Democrats and Republicans have done anything this past year, they have revealed to us once again that Jesus is our only hope as a nation. Policy won’t save us, changing pronouns won’t save us, praying to other gods won’t save us, recalling elections won’t save us. The Democrats and the Republicans won’t save us. Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life and the only hope in this life of our nation being restored to order, unity, and true salvation (John 14:6).
At a critical time in the life of the nation of Israel during the time of Jesus, when Judas came to betray Jesus, Peter withdrew his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, the solider. Jesus immediately rebuked Peter and said, “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, let these words stop you, then turn and reflect, maybe even spend some time fasting and seeking God like Ezra and Nehemiah did during the time of the rebuilding of Israel.
Jesus put the man’s ear back on him.
They watched him restore the ear of the “enemy.” That is how powerful Jesus is, that is how different Jesus is from you and me. I feel the angst, I have an opinion. I am tempted as well to render to Caesar what doesn’t belong to him. I am tempted to take matters into my own hands as well, just like Peter. But Jesus is telling us not to. He is telling us to pull up. He is asking us, imploring us, to allow this to be a time to be more Christian than American.
He tells us in His Word that we are citizens of another city. A city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). We love our nation and want the best for our nation for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come but at what expense to our faith?
Jesus is asking us to trust Him. Yes, after Jesus healed the ear of Malchus, they still arrested Jesus. Sometimes God’s plan doesn’t look like our plans, this is why Isaiah said His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).
We have a nation divided. Pew research just released a poll that says 88% of Congress professes Christ as their Savior. Eighty-eight percent! Seems to me there is still hope, if we turn, humble ourselves, and see His face, and turn from our wicked ways. May we all be on our knees asking God to humble our leaders by whatever means He decides to use to get their attention to do His will.
There is still time, but Jesus is our only hope. Let’s drop to our knees in prayer and fasting and render to God what belongs to him and ask God to deal with Caesar.
Stop white knuckling your politics.
Open your hands to Him.
By the way, church history tells us that Malchus believed after the resurrection of Jesus and became a church planter and pastor, and led many to Jesus.
God knows what He is doing, trust Him.
Listen to Him.
He’s got this!
He will bring good out of this.
He always does!