Text: Matthew 22:15-22
Vs 21 is the verse in this text we often hear quoted: “Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (ISV) Often the discussion is then around justice and what is due to the state and of course also what is due to God.
Justice – what’s “fair” and what isn’t.
When I read the text again, I was struck by something completely different. The Pharisees and Herodians said to Jesus “You don’t favour any individual, for you pay no attention to external appearance.” To my mind this touches on an even deeper issue around fairness.
Jesus did not judge people on their appearance or favoured anyone above anyone else. To Him all people were (are) the same.
And then I think of people of faith, people who should be Christ’s ambassadors. I think of so many stories where people of faith respond to “external appearance”; where people are judged because they are not dressed “correctly”; where people feel unwelcome or are excluded because of some perceived difference in thought or behaviour; where someone with HIV is rejected.
I think of the times where I judge others on appearance, the times when I am not “fair”. And I think that this probably more important than the answer Jesus gave to the Pharisees: This verse challenges me to view others as Jesus does.
To think about: How can we challenge each other to look with Jesus’ eyes?