A New Way of Seeing the World
Chapter 14 D
Happy New Year! 2008 can be a New Year for your spiritual journey also. As we walk together with Jesus, He will be teaching us new ways to see the world through His eyes.
Our lesson this week focuses on the “temple tax” issue as relayed in the book of Matthew Chapter 17 and verses 24-27. It is a very small section with a very big meaning.
Dr. Bruce tells us not to skim the surface on this topic by assuming it is just about paying taxes. He tells us to plumb the riches below the surface to see the profound truth that Jesus was driving home to the twelve.
If you remember, we were traveling with the twelve from the Mount of Transfiguration, and along the way, of course, the twelve were squabbling about which one of them was the greatest. Jesus pulled the rug out from under them when the tax collector approached Peter implying that Jesus and His entourage had shirked on their taxes. When Peter confronted Jesus with this problem, he got an unexpected response from Jesus.
The first thing Jesus did was to ask a question, clarifying the issue. He asked Peter, who the tax collectors collected tax from, if they collected from sons of Kings, or from the others. Peter, of course, said the others. Jesus states the obvious by saying that the sons therefore are free. However, instead of claiming His right as the Son of the King of Kings, Jesus tells Peter to go fishing, open the mouth of the first fish he catches, and pay the tax for both of them with the coin he will find inside that fish. While this looks straightforward, it is a loaded statement.
This simple statement gives us 6 things that we should consider when we are dealing with the world. Jesus, leading by example, shows us what they are.
1. Do not let your pride get hooked by the statements people make. Many times, people will say things that hook our “self” esteem. When that happens, we are tempted to respond in a way that will escalate the argument and cause a fight. 2Corinthians 5:17-21, says that we are not to have our own agenda, but just like Jesus, we must seek reconciliation with God and others. That is our primary ministry on Earth.
2. Voluntarily comply with the World’s Laws. Jesus understood that while He was not “of” this world, He had to be “in” it, to do the work the Father gave Him to do. The same is true of us. We are not to stand out as rebels and criminals. We are to be law abiding citizens wherever we live. We are the salt and light to our neighbors.
3. Be a peace maker, not peace keeper. We are not told to follow the law to just appease the government; even though, it is God who placed that government there. We are to follow the Law to set an example to those we live among so that they well want the peace that we have. We are not to patronize people, but rather show them a different way to live in the world.
4. Follow Jesus’ servant leadership. Even though, Christ was the Creator of all that is, He served His subjects. We are to do the same thing. The way we are greatest to serve, not ask to be served.
5. Acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit. As children of God, we have a true and wise worldview given to us by the Holy Spirit. The world is separated from God; therefore, it does not have access to the resources of the Holy Spirit. We are to treat the world graciously, because if they knew, they would not act the way that they do. Jesus said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”. Follow that advice.
6. Do not be surprised at the world’s condition. Jesus was not surprised or indignant about the world’s lack of morality. It saddened Him. He just loved the people. We need to do that as well. Instead of condemning and avoiding the world, we need to live among them and live differently.
In this passage, Jesus sets an example for us as well in 2008. He says we need to rethink how we see and treat other people who are not Christians. We need to walk among them and set the example while serving them; not lording our position in Christ or even our knowledge over them. Just like Jesus, we need to be servant leaders who have compassion on those who do not know the blessings of a walk with Christ.
See Ya Next Time