By Mark Shields
The world has a lot of negatives that can bite us with a poisonous venom but we are equipped to put the world in its place. God’s word equips us with the tools we need to catch the poisonous snakes that can bite us.
Reading in Mark 12:13-17, the Herodians mentioned in today’s passage were a sect of Jews who like the Pharisees wanted political independence for the Jewish people. They were friendly to king Herod who wished to restore a member of the Horodian dynasty to the throne of Judea rather than restoring the kingdom of David like the Pharisees wanted to do.
The Herodians along with the Pharisees wanted to set Jesus up. They ask if it was right to pay the imperial tax to Ceasar or not? Jesus knew they were trying to proof he was a teacher who was turning the people against the government so he requested that a coin be brought to him. Then he asked them whose image was on the coin and whose inscription (v. 16)?
They replied Ceasar’s image and inscription. Jesus told them to give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (v. 17). Jesus demonstrates his wisdom in being able to face the religious and political leaders in this way of answering the question without getting bitten.
Think about it in current times, from local or national government agencies we get services like water, sewer, infrastructure, social security, health care, military, and law enforcement. In return for these benefits, we pay taxes. But there must be a balance between the role of government agencies and the people. Too much of a tax is a burden on a person’s ability to be independent from the government and take care of themselves. On the other hand, there are some roles the government plays that are necessary within a society.
The photo you see in this post was taken recently when this rattlesnake was found in the shrubs next to my house. The city animal control came out with their snake tongs which is a tool to grab a snake. With their tool and knowhow, they put the snake in a bucket and got it back to where it belongs out in the wilderness. In looking at the photo, this could be a diamond back rattler or it could be a timber rattler which is protected under state law and is ILLEGAL to kill in Texas.
Lord, we are grateful for Your word that equips us with the tools we need for protection against worldly enemies that can bite us. Lessons from the Bible, the Holy Spirit speaking to us deep in our hearts, and life experiences provide us with the wisdom needed to escape the poisonous venom of those against us. In Christ name we pray today, amen.