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Render Unto Caesar

Editorial By Bro. Richard Davis

Hello Faithful Reader. I’m glad you are here for another issue of The Remnant. We have worked through many of the shipping inconveniences caused by Covid 19, and we are glad to hear that the case numbers are dropping, and that perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve had time to catch up on some projects around the house. I recently replaced an exhaust fan, and this required working with wiring. In order to avoid being shocked, I turned off the breaker, disconnecting the electricity. I had to work with a flashlight but at least I didn’t get electrocuted.

The recent political climate in the United States has been exhausting. I’ve followed the polls, elections, voter fraud, and riots. I’ve listened to the news and become upset, and even angry at times. I believe this has been the case for many, regardless of your political ideology or preferred candidates. Politics has dominated our radios, news feeds, and conversations. While talking with two brethren at church recently about all these things, one of them quoted the following scripture: Matthew 22:21, “…Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” He remarked that Jesus didn’t get too involved in political affairs. I agree with him completely.

In Mathew, chapter 22, we see the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus. In verse 15 we read, “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in his talk.” They then asked if they should give tribute unto Caesar or not. Jesus’s response was perfect. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” I can almost hear the dismissive tone in His voice, I can almost see Him hand waving them away. Jesus was well aware of their efforts to ensnare Him in His words. They would have loved to force Jesus to take one side or the other.

In the New Testament, we see that the Jews wanted a literal empire on earth. They wanted freedom from Roman tyranny and a kingdom from which they could rule. They hoped that Jesus, the Messiah, would bring this to pass. Their misinterpretation of the Old Testament scriptures led them down a path of disappointment. When questioned by Pilate, Jesus said in John 18:36, “…My kingdom is not of this world…” Jesus had no intention of building a temporal kingdom on this earth. As with any kingdom or nation, politics would be a necessity. He refused to take sides and create a political stronghold for the Jewish people. The true Kingdom of God is in the hearts of His people, and perhaps it is best left free of politics.

The Bible teaches us in 1 Timothy 2:1-3, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;” You may find it difficult to pray for political leaders that you don’t like… I find it difficult too. We are, however, commanded to do it. The scripture is clear. The Jewish people hoped for freedom from their oppressors, and a kingdom of their own. Jesus was their Savior, but not in the way they expected, and so they couldn’t see the actual kingdom promised to them.

Perhaps we have felt the weight of political oppression, and hoped for a savior to free us. Do we think that all hope is lost, or do we think that finally, our kingdom has come? When Jesus was 12 years old, he went to the synagogue, and when His parents came calling, Jesus said, Luke 2:49, “…How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Jesus was working for His father in Heaven. The scope of His work is hard to comprehend now, so I imagine it would have been more difficult then. Things in the world were always secondary for Jesus. His goal was to please His father and do the work He was sent to do.

As Jesus labored for His father, He had to disconnect from things of the world. He had to dismiss things that would keep Him from fulfilling all that He was sent to do. Jesus was tempted by Satan with the glory of the world. Matthew 4:8-10, “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Again we see the dismissive attitude of Jesus. These things simply didn’t concern him.

I would like to end by asking a question. Which kingdom are we most interested in? Whose empire are we invested in most? How do we use the precious time we have, and what do we think about? Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” These are much better things to focus our thought on. I’ll admit that I have fallen short lately. I’ve been too caught up in everything that has happened, when I should have spent that time working in God’s Kingdom instead. Too much time and thought have been expended. I’ve come to the conclusion that on a personal level, I need to disconnect. I need to trip the breaker and leave politics to the politicians. I don’t want to become overcharged. I am not suggesting to stick our heads in the sand. We have a civil duty to pray for our leaders, and make informed voting decisions. But the degree of my attention can be reduced, and my mental health will probably improve as well.

So, I’ll flip the breaker and work in the dark, but it’s ok, I have a light to see. Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”