Brian Steemson, member of Hexham Community Church, comments on Matthew 22 v 15 - 22:

Who rules the world?

Governments thought they did until the coronavirus recently showed the limitations of what they could control.

The short passage this week is an account of the religious leaders pretending to flatter Jesus but then asking him to say whether he agreed with funding the Roman government by paying its tax.

If he agreed, they would be able to say he supported the oppressive regime, but if he didn’t they could use that to denounce him to the Roman authorities.

Jesus recognised their duplicity and called them hypocrites.

Jesus rightly separated the civil authority, which issued coinage, from God’s kingdom. Jesus repeatedly claimed to be bringing the benefits of God’s kingdom to all whom he encountered.

In his eyes, God’s kingdom rule was greater and more long-lasting than the political regime of the day which would lose its power comparatively quickly.

Although governments are flawed and finite, God has given them limited authority for our benefit and to that end they are to be obeyed

Jesus’ message that governors should be obeyed in the realm of civil society was repeated by his followers after his death, as can be seen elsewhere in scripture.

It is a valid approach for us today.

Jesus goes on to say that we should not overlook God’s requirements. God’s invitation to all people for their blessing is an open one and is Good News if it’s accepted - but there can be severe consequences for those who reject it (as we have seen over the last two weeks).

See more on this in John chapter 10 v 7-10.

Jesus came to bring fullness of life to anyone who accepts him.