Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rendering to God by Rendering to Caesar

“Rendering to God by Rendering to Caesar”

“From Ulster Plantation to the Carolina’s with the Gospel!” *

Russell H. McCullough / Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 / - Date:  7 May 2017

Text: Mark 12.13 - 17
Thesis:  When We Honor Caesar, We Honor God.  When We Pay Our Taxes, We Honor Caesar Which in Turn Honors God.  We Cannot Play Word Games With God!

1           Introduction

A.    The greater context begins in 11.27 – “…they came again to Jerusalem; and as He was walking in the Temple there came to Him the Chief Priests, and the Scribes, and the Elders…”

1.      The Levites
2.    The Levitical Lawyers
3.     Representatives from The Sanhedrin – The 70 elders of Israel made up of both Pharisees and Sadducees.
B.   “By what authority?” – “Was the baptism of John from God or from men?” – 11.27 – 11.33
C.    The parable of the vineyard – 12.1 – 12.12
D.   Having humiliated these, they (L, LL, S) sent the most unlikely of allies to “catch Him in His words,” the Pharisees and the Herodian’s!
1.      Pharisees – Ultra nationalists who continuously fought against Roman occupation and the influence of Greek culture.
2.    Herodian’s – Pro Roman collaborators, the otherwise enemies of the Pharisees.
3.     Only their common hatred of the Christ brought them together for the very first and very last time!
E.    These delegations singular purpose was to “catch Him in His words,” to “entangle Him in His talk,” and to “take hold of His Words” so they might build a case for His murder.
1.      They proposed to put Christ into a “semantic stew” as it were.
F.    They proposed to do this by a classic “catch 22” move, no matter what His response, He would convict Himself, a classic “between a rock and a hard place” rhetorical trick.  We might call this a “loaded question.”
1.      The Pharisee’s wanted to hear “YES” as this would politicize Christ as pro-Roman and destroy His standing with the people.
2.    The Herodian’s wanted to hear “NO” as this would politicize Christ as anti-Roman and make Him an enemy of the state.
3.     Either way, they thought, Jesus would incriminate Himself and they then could arrest Him.
G.   What they did not know was that they were attacking the King of Rhetoric! 
1.      Jesus Christ is the greatest Rhetorical Power the world has ever seen or will see!
a.    Jesus Christ defeats ALL arguments against Him!
b.    If one wishes to master rhetoric, if one wishes to master argumentation, if one wishes to master debate…study Jesus Christ!
H.   What Jesus Christ is about to do here is to pull a “rhetorical reverse” …it will put the delegation in the vice that they themselves created!
I.       This account is found in 3 of the synoptic gospels: Out Markian text today, in Matthew 22.15 – 22 and Luke 20.20 - 26

2          Mark’s and Matthew’s account are vertically identical:

A.   Pharisees and Herodian’s
B.   “Trap / entangle” Him in His talk
C.    He is called Teacher
D.   “We know You are True”
E.    “You don’t care for other’s opinions”
F.    “You are not swayed by appearances”
G.   “You truly teach the Way of God”
H.   They ask the same question; “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?”
I.       Jesus asks the question; “Why test Me?”
J.     Jesus asks for a coin
K.   “Whose likeness and inscription is here?”
L.    Same response; “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
M.The same result; “And they marveled at Him.”

3          In Luke’s account, (Read Luke 20.20 – 26) we discover a wide variety of additional facts:

A.   Luke calls the delegation “spies.”
B.   He says the delegation “pretended to be sincere.”
C.    Their purpose was to deliver up Christ to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor.
D.    They were unable to do so in the presence of the people to catch Him in what He said.
E.    They became silent.

4         Motives, Questions, and Answers:

5          CONCLUSION:

6         The Meaning of the Text in It’s Theological, Historical & Cultural Context:


7          The Challenge of the Text for Christians Today


8         “The Gospel Call”

·         My fifth great uncle was Hugh Gaston who was rector at the Ballywillan Presbyterian Church (pictured above left) in County Antrim, Ulster Plantation (Northern Ireland) and wrote the most dangerous book of his time; Gaston’s Collections.  It allowed “the ploughman to know more Bible than his clergyman.”  Hugh fled to South Carolina where he died prematurely of the measles.  He is buried just one hour south of Charlotte in Chester County, S.C. in “Burnt Meeting House Cemetery.”   Uncle Hugh continues to inspire my ministry to this very day.  You can read more about Uncle Hugh here:
Ruins photo courtesy of:

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