“Give to [the government] what is [the government’s]” Luke 20:25
It was a few days after the election and the results were still in the air. This was the closest election in recent memory with emotions running high as accusations of fraud came from both sides.
“Well I know that they’re going to expose corruption and false votes on the Democrats side of things. Our man will remain in office for sure,” said Sam, the adult Sunday School leader. The class erupted in aggressive agreement, taking them abruptly off topic.
“Just a minute friends,” said John in a loud voice. “What business do we have in bringing politics into this Bible class?” As quickly as they began, the class was brought to order.
Sam confronted John, “What are you saying? We all voted for the current president and know that the opposition would do anything to get him out of office. It’s our duty to expose any sort of lawlessness in the government. We’re not doormats, are we?”
Tumult again! Emotions ran high as some rose to their feet in adamant agreement.
“How do you know we all voted for the same man?” John said.
Stunned silence followed.
“Are you saying you voted against the president? How could you do that?”
“Who I voted for is my business. I am more concerned about our attitudes in the Bible class. When was the last time we got this excited about God’s Word or some other Biblical issue? And what does the Bible say about taking the government to task when we perceive them treating us as doormats?”
“You really voted for a Democrat?” said Sam. “I still love you, John but I admit that I’m disappointed.”
“Sam, I didn’t say who I voted for, nor do I intend to. I’m talking about our rebellious attitude because it seems our side may not win, as though God was in danger of being defeated. Christ is King, folks. This is just a political election. And if our man is defeated then that must be God’s plan, according to the Bible!
“Well, don’t you think it’s our responsibility to take the government to task when they get out of control and threaten our religious freedoms?”
“Who was the government when Jesus was teaching and preaching?”
“We all know the answer to that, the Romans were in charge.”
“And they were horribly corrupt and evil wouldn’t you say? They were especially hard on Christians weren’t they? Arresting and killing them, burning them at the stake in some instances.”
“Yes, that’s true enough,” said Sam.
“Well then, did Jesus command his followers to rise up against the evil regime?”
“No. I guess you’re right, John.”
“And when he was challenged in Luke 20:22-25, what did he reply?”
One of the class read aloud, “Now tell us, is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” He saw through their trickery and said, “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” Caesar’s, they replied. “Well then,” He said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
“To bring that forward to our lives, we could say, Give to the government what belongs to the government, couldn’t we?” They agreed.
“Although sinful and corrupt, this world is under God’s control and His will shall always be fulfilled no matter how it looks to us. If the current president is defeated after the final tally of votes, then that is God’s plan which also means we should be content with the result.
“Look at Romans 13:1-7,” said John:
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God.”
“As followers of Christ our position is to be light in a dark world; to lead people to Christ by our living example, not to set the government straight!”
“I’ve found another appropriate verse,” said a class member, “1 Peter 2:13-14, Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.”
“And here’s an appropriate verse,” said another person, 1 Timothy 3:1-3
“Here are my directions: Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all he is going to do for them. 2 Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior.”
Aside from privately asking God if He could take away His forthcoming death on the cross, what was our Lord’s demeanor during this excruciating time? It was not decrying the unjust rulings of the Roman government and Jewish religious leaders was it? No. Jesus remained focused on the “joy set before Him.” Let us remain focused on the joy set before us so others may be drawn to our light.