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It’s a Trap

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away. (Matthew 22:15-22, NRSV)

When I read this passage it made me think of the scene from Return of the Jedi, when Admiral Akbar says, “Its a trap!”

Jesus knew the Pharisees were trying to trap him by saying you shouldn’t pay taxes. But Jesus asked for a coin and asked whose picture was on it. Then he said Give to the emperor what is the emperor’s and give to God what is God’s.

Seems pretty easy. But is it?

We need to support our government in as much as we give them there due but also keep ourselves aligned with where God is leading and calling us.

God comes first in our lives. So give God what is God’s.

 

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The Servant Leader

24When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.26It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:24-28, NRSV)

If you want to be great in the kingdom of God you must be a servant of all. Even those who would betray you. You see Jesus gave us an example of this when he washed the feet of the disciples and included in those whose feet he washed was Judas, the one wh ok handed him over.

So to do what God has called us to do we must love everyone and serve those whom we are with.

Be like Jesus and give as God gave to you.

 

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God is Love

Beloved, let us love one another because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:7-10, NRSV)

If you do not love you do not know God.

And the reason we have love is not that we loved God, but that God loved us while we were yet sinful and sent His son to show us love.

So if we do not love we are not a part of Him.

And we love others not because they deserve our love, but because God first loved us.

 

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first last

160901Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:20-28, NRSV)

No this passage does not mean that if you come in last in a race, or get the highest score at golf that you actually won… sorry.

It means if we are in a place of power we must not use that power to our advantage. We need to look out for others, for those who are in power will not be, and those who were deemed losers will be winners, and the least will be evened out with those who were deemed greatest.

So always remember that in God’s time we will be evened out and all will stand before the throne of God.

 

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servant of all

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:30-35, NRSV)

Is there someone in your world that you just can not image serving?

That one person if Jesus said to wash their feet, you might just walk away?

Now be honest, because if we are honest, we all have at least one person that we do not really want to serve in our lives.

Now do you have a good mental image of them?

And now picture yourself with them and Jesus, and Jesus asks you to wash their feet, and you do it.

That is what this verse says to do. To serve as Jesus served, remember that Judas was there when Jesus washed the disciples feet.

We must be a servant to all, because that is what He told us to do!

 

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