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"Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's,
and to God the things that are God's."
      Mt 22:21

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Sermon Excerpt: The Things That Are Godís Mt. 22:15-22, Rev. Karen Goltz


The Pharisees must be getting desperate.  This Jesus has come into the Temple in Jerusalem at Passover, its busiest time of the year, and systematically humiliated and discredited them.  First he makes a big show of overturning the tables of the merchants and moneychangers, accusing them of defiling Godís holy place, then he begins healing and teaching the people.  When the Pharisees challenge his authority to do all this, he responds in such a way as to not only claim holy authority for himself, but to also diminish the authority of the chief priests and Pharisees.  This Jesus then goes on to tell a series of parables that serves to demonstrate how the chief priests and Pharisees are not working according to the will of God, and even suggesting that God himself will abandon them in favor of others.  They have to do something drastic to stop this now!

  So they gather up some Herodians and confront him.  Now, youíve got to understand that Jewish religious leaders and Herodians didnít usually buddy around together.  Herodians were those who represented the interests of Roman rule in their colonies, which is what Israel was at this point.  Pharisees barely tolerated Herodians, yet they enlisted their help to confront Jesus.  They wanted to trap him with his own words.  So they butter him up with flattery, and then ask him a no-win question: Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?

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