This week’s Gospel reading tells of a challenge that was posed to Jesus about whether or not it was lawful to pay taxes to the Caesar. It’s more than just a challenge, and it probably wasn’t an innocent question either. It’s a trap set so that either way that Jesus answers, he will become mired in controversy with the religious parties of society or be in danger of prison with the Imperial occupiers.
Jesus escapes the trap with what seems to be a clever response. But it has always seemed to me that when Jesus’ words are recorded, there’s always more going on than meets the eye. I think that’s the case here too. When you consider more carefully how Jesus answers the question, what he’s doing is giving a warning about the dangers of wealth, saying something about what God is up to in this moment and explaining a spiritual law that is still important today. (That’s a lot to unpack, but let’s give it a go shall we?)
I filmed this sermon a bit early this week, taking advantage of a nice day and avoiding a predicted Nor’easter this weekend. There was an issue with my regular camera, so the quality of the video is different, but the audio is better. I’ll keep working on getting things dialed in.
The direct link to the video sermon is here.