一起读经 | 马太福音22:15-22 两个国度

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马太福音22:15-22

15当时,法利赛人出去,商议怎样就着耶稣的话陷害他,16就打发他们的门徒同希律党的人去见耶稣,说:“夫子,我们知道你是诚实人,并且诚诚实实传 神的道,什么人你都不徇情面,因为你不看人的外貌。17请告诉我们,你的意见如何?纳税给凯撒可以不可以?”18耶稣看出他们的恶意,就说:“假冒为善的人哪,为什么试探我?19拿一个上税的钱给我看。”他们就拿一个银钱来给他。20耶稣说:“这像和这号是谁的?”21他们说:“是凯撒的。”耶稣说:“这样,凯撒的物当归给凯撒; 神的物当归给 神。”22他们听见就希奇,离开他走了。

他们认为可以用这个完美的问题让耶稣落入陷阱,如果耶稣说可以纳税给凯撒,那么他就会被犹太爱国主义者看做坏人,如果耶稣说不可以纳税给凯撒,结果更糟,他们会向政府举报他。

对于他们所认为的这个完美陷阱,耶稣给了他们一个完美的回答。他指着银币上凯撒的头像说,“凯撒的物当归给凯撒,神的物当归给神”,在耶稣这样做的同时,他也给我们立下了一个原则,我们称之为“教会和国家的分离”。我们可以对我们的国家给与我们的一切表示感谢——保护我们的安全,发达的公路,学校和其他很多事物。我们应当向政府纳税,我们甘愿这样做,与第四条诫命保持一致。保罗在罗马书13章说,我们也应当尊崇和敬畏那在我们上面掌权的。这似乎正是最近所缺失的,我们不应当卷入这样的事情当中。

我们应当把属于神的给神,是什么呢?就是我们的生命。如果没有神保护的手,我们会在哪里呢?如果我们不相信耶稣,我们的盼望是什么呢?即使是在罗马政府的极端逼迫之下,早期的基督徒仍然以他们的爱、尊敬和他们的好行为,让他们很容易被辨识出来。同样,当我们在一个争议不断的政治环境里活出我们的生命,我们的光甚至会照的更亮。

祷告:主耶稣啊,感谢你赐给我们政府。我们把得到的很多东西视作理所当然,警察保护我们,领袖制定法律,在军队中服役的男性和女性保护我们远离敌人;求你使我成为一个好公民,不论是在我所爱的这个国家,还是在你的国度里。在你的国度里,我才找到超乎所想的平安。阿们。

Matthew 22:15-22: 15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.16 They sent 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. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

        They thought they could trap Jesus with the perfect question. If Jesus said it was O.K. to pay taxes to Caesar, he would look bad in the eyes of the Jewish nationalists. If he said it was not O.K. to pay taxes to Caesar, even better. They would report him to the authorities.

Jesus gave them the perfect answer to what they thought was a well laid trap. He pointed to the image of Caesar on the coin and said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. In doing so he laid down the principle for us we call the “separation of church and state.”  We can be thankful for what the state gives us – protection good roads, schools, and many other things. We owe taxes to the government and should pay them willingly in keeping with the fourth commandment.  Paul in Romans 13 says that we also owe those who govern our honor and respect. That seems to be in short supply lately, and we should not be drawn in by these things.

We owe to God what is God’s. And what is that?  It is our very life. Where would we be without God’s protecting hand? What hope would we have without our faith in Jesus? Even under severe persecution by the Roman government, early Christians distinguished themselves by their love, respect and their good works. In the same way, as we live our lives in a contentious political climate, our light can shine even brighter.    

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank you for the government you have given us. We take for granted so much, the police to protect us, the leaders who make our laws, the men and women in armed services who keep watch against our enemies. Make me a good citizen both in the country I love and in your kingdom, where I find the peace that passes all understanding.  Amen. 

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