Sermon on November 10 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Mark 12:13-17
Was Jesus political? If so, in what way? Is this only about taxes? Or about loyalty to a kingdom…
1. A REVOLUTIONARY QUESTION! (v13 – 15a)
Twenty-five years before Judas the Galilean has been executed for calling on all Jews to refuse the head-tax.
If Jesus says, ‘Be a nice citizen, pay taxes and enjoy inner peace’, the Pharisees can call him a phony. If he says ‘Don’t pay’, the Herodians will rejoice as He is crushed by the Romans.
2. A REVOLUTIONARY ANSWER! (v15b – 16)
- Jesus refuses political simplicity
There is no black and white answer. Jesus will not identify with the Pharisees or the Herodians
Be careful lest you identify a Christian by what party they belong to, or their party politics.
- Jesus refuses political complacency
Up to this time, all governments and leaders saw themselves as ‘gods’ or having divine authority.
Jesus astounds his enemies by being more revolutionary than they thought.
‘…No-body could deny that the saying of Jesus that you could not give ultimate allegiance was revolutionary. But on the other hand, no-one could say that He has forbidden payment of taxes either’. (N.T. Wright)
- Jesus refuses political primacy
In a world that thinks politics has the answers, do not reject involvement, (Essenes) or hope in politics (Zealots)
Are you willing, whatever it costs, to put your allegiance to God before public opinion?
3. A REVOLUTIONARY REVOLUTION! (v17)
What do we do with a king who is not into what other kings are – power, success, comfort and recognition?
Only following Jesus will give us the power to live under unjust government but without compromising the King!
‘Only God’s kingdom will prevail and you can only be truly radical when you become part of that order. Then go out and proclaim and tell all people who are bound mentally, physically, spiritually that the real Liberator has come’ (Tom Skinner)
Remember! If you love Jesus, not politics but the gospel will keep changing you. People on the left, nor the right are our enemies, but the enemy within i.e. me! Ask the Lord to keep us on our knees, devoted to His kingdom above all.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. Should a Christian be involved in politics, or not? Give reasons for your answer from the Bible, Old and New Testaments.
2. What unites the Pharisees and the Herodians (normally at opposite ends)? Why?
3. What is the legitimate purpose of human government? What are the responsibilities of citizens? What kind of citizens should we be as Christians?
4. Is there a danger in your home country for citizens to worship the political leaders, or the govern-ment? How can we balance patriotism with Christianity? Spend some time in prayer for those in authority and those persecuted because they will not compromise allegiance to King Jesus?
Photo credit FreeImages.com/dara jones