Category: Why Easter? Written by Jim Denison
The Pharisees, a political group that opposes Jesus' movement, asked him a trick question: "Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?" If he says that it is not, the Roman soldiers standing guard will arrest him for insurrection. If he says that it is, the Jews who hate the Romans will reject him. Either way, they win.
After asking for a Roman coin, Jesus asks, "Whose inscription is this?" "Caesar," they reply. "Then render to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's," he answers. The Pharisees are amazed and leave in defeat.
So a second group arrives, called the Sadducees. They ask Jesus their own trick question: a woman's husband dies, so she is married to his brother, which was the custom of the land. But he dies, and so on through all seven brothers. Which one will be her husband in the afterlife?
Jesus replies by citing their own Scriptures, where God says: "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Not "I was" but "I am." He is God of the dead and the living. They leave defeated while the crowd is astounded.
A lawyer then asks Jesus to identify the most important of their 613 laws. If he names one, they will accuse him of rejecting the others. Jesus responds with the Great Commandments: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. The lawyer is impressed.
Because of their rejection of him, Jesus foresees the day when their massive temple will be destroyed. His prediction came true when Titus, the Roman general, burned and demolished the temple in A.D. 70. It has never been rebuilt.
Jesus' opponents were the most religious people in the land. On Holy Tuesday we learn that religion is not enough. Going to church or even preaching sermons and leading congregations is not enough. God wants a personal, intimate relationship with every one of us. He wants to be King of every part of our lives, not just our religious activities.
But we are fallen people living in a fallen world. If we do not put him on the throne of our lives, intentionally and consciously, we are on that throne. Have you made him your King again today?