Sustained by God’s Word of Hope
Luke 20:19-47: The religious leaders questions Jesus about paying taxes, about rising from death, and about the Messiah. Jesus warns his followers to be on guard against those who display false piety while taking advantage of society’s most vulnerable members.
Jesus said, “Well, then, pay to the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay to God what belongs to God.”
19The teachers of the Law and the chief priests tried to arrest Jesus on the spot, because they knew that he had told this parable against them; but they were afraid of the people.20So they looked for an opportunity. They bribed some men to pretend they were sincere, and they sent them to trap Jesus with questions, so that they could hand him over to the authority and power of the Roman Governor.21These spies said to Jesus, “Teacher, we know that what you say and teach is right. We know that you pay no attention to anyone's status, but teach the truth about God's will for people.22Tell us, is it against our Law for us to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor, or not?”
23But Jesus saw through their trick and said to them,24“Show me a silver coin. Whose face and name are these on it?”
“The Emperor's,” they answered.
25So Jesus said, “Well, then, pay to the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay to God what belongs to God.”
26There before the people they could not catch him in a thing, so they kept quiet, amazed at his answer.
27 Then some Sadducees, who say that people will not rise from death, came to Jesus and said,28 “Teacher, Moses wrote this law for us: ‘If a man dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man's brother must marry the widow so that they can have children who will be considered the dead man's children.’29Once there were seven brothers; the oldest got married and died without having children.30Then the second one married the woman,31and then the third. The same thing happened to all seven—they died without having children.32Last of all, the woman died.33Now, on the day when the dead rise to life, whose wife will she be? All seven of them had married her.”
34Jesus answered them, “The men and women of this age marry,35but the men and women who are worthy to rise from death and live in the age to come will not then marry.36They will be like angels and cannot die. They are the children of God, because they have risen from death.37 And Moses clearly proves that the dead are raised to life. In the passage about the burning bush he speaks of the Lord as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’38He is the God of the living, not of the dead, for to him all are alive.”
39Some of the teachers of the Law spoke up, “A good answer, Teacher!”40For they did not dare ask him any more questions.
41Jesus asked them, “How can it be said that the Messiah will be the descendant of David?42 For David himself says in the book of Psalms,
‘The Lord said to my Lord:
Sit here at my right side
43until I put your enemies as a footstool under your feet.’
44David called him ‘Lord’; how, then, can the Messiah be David's descendant?”
45As all the people listened to him, Jesus said to his disciples,46“Be on your guard against the teachers of the Law, who like to walk around in their long robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplace; who choose the reserved seats in the synagogues and the best places at feasts;47who take advantage of widows and rob them of their homes, and then make a show of saying long prayers! Their punishment will be all the worse!”
How does Jesus respond to those who question him about the payment of taxes (verses 19-26)? About rising from death? About the Messiah? Reread verses 45-47. The behavior of those who enjoy high status is contrasted with those who are disadvantaged. How does Jesus describe the teachers of the Law? What does their behavior indicate about their regard for justice and concern for society’s poor? How do you “pay to God what belongs to God”?
Lord God, everything belongs to you, and I praise and thank you for your blessings. Open my eyes and heart to the needs of those I encounter today and teach me to share my resources lovingly with a spirit of generosity. Amen.
Those living in poverty
Luke 22:1-30: Jesus eats the Passover meal with his disciples.