Matthew 22:17 asks the question, “Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” The Pharisees were coming to trap Jesus in a question regarding taxes and government authority. Still to this day, we read this scripture and think it’s about taxes and government ruling. But, if we continue on, and read verse 21, then we realize this scripture has little to do with taxes, but everything to do with ownership. Now, we could say that taxes and ownership go hand and hand, but this particular scripture refers to ownership as being an image bearer.
Jesus said, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) He reminds the Pharisees that Caesar’s image on the coin entitled Caesar to their taxes, but we are to give to God that which bears His image. Genesis 1:26-27 says that all humans are created in God’s image. So, if we are to give God what bears His image, then that means we are to give Him our lives. We are to give Him our very self. We are to give Him all that we are.
How do we give all of ourselves to God?
Wow, giving our entire self to God seems like an overwhelming task. But, considering He made us in His likeness, it’s really not that enormous, it’s actually a very natural procedure. He created us to connect with Him in that manner, we just need to realize our role and choose to follow it.
What does it look like to be an image bearer of God?
Being God’s image bearer, means many things. But first, it means we must recognize God as our creator, Jesus as our Savior and that we have the Spirit of the Lord within us. Therefore, we’re a pretty powerful reflection of God. Second, it means that we learn to accept that we’re exquisitely beautiful. Third, we have a unique responsibility in this world and God expects us to take this responsibility seriously.
We can’t go through life believing that we have no significance, or that we don’t amount to anything. We represent the creator, the Lord of everything. We need to stand tall and firm, knowing that God is standing with us. We can’t waste our day or our lives with unimportant, frivolous, wasteful things. We have a purpose and we need to pursue that purpose. Our purpose isn’t to live in the past or look toward the future. It is to do what we’re responsible for now. If what we’re currently responsible for seems irrelevant, then we need to ask God to reveal to us why it’s not pertinent – He’ll either show us it’s relevance for our life or He’ll redirect us to the purpose He wants us to pursue, not the one we’ve been following that we thought was from Him. Being an image bearer, means God will guide us in how we are to proceed with life.
As image bearers of Christ, God trusts us and is giving us the authority to move His kingdom forward. That’s a big task, one that we must not take lightly. We’d love to hear how you’re bearing God’s image. What has God called you to do that reflects His very nature and love? We’d love to hear about your personal journey as an image bearer of our Lord. Email us your story, message us on Facebook or #niNeChristianMagazine.
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They send their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarious, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesars’s” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.