“Pay the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and God what belongs to God.” That saying of Jesus from Matthews’s Gospel is one that all scripture scholars from Westar onward all agree is 100% a Jesus original saying.
What Jesus is saying to us is to remember who ‘owns‘ the world. And in Isiah 45, we hear the words: “God is the Lord, and there is no other.” So I ask myself this morning as I watched the news, which side will I take when the Caesars and Emperors of today try to supplant divine authority?
When we think of restorative justice, another way to see justice, we see in the words of Jesus just maybe a model for civil disobedience in the way Jesus systematically took on the social order of first-century Jewish Palestine. Jesus’ confrontations and campaign all spoke to the center of authority and power of his time. Jerusalem.
So is Jesus saying to us choose a prophetic style of addressing our world today?
The Kingdom of God is here and now.