Read: Matthew 22

This chapter continues some various temple discourses given by Christ. For today’s devotional, we will look at only two of them. First, the teaching regarding paying taxes to Caeser (22:15-22). That section of Matthew’s gospel has often been used to substantiate the obligation of citizens to pay taxes to the government. Although that is not untrue, the real point is that we owe him everything as image-bearers of God. The point is pressed in 22:21 when Jesus tells them to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. The issue hinges on Jesus’s point when he asks about the coin. He asks, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” The structure of the sentence points back to Gen. 1:27, where we read, “So God created man in his own image.” Since the coin belongs to Caesar (because of its inscription), all humanity belongs to God because we are inscribed with his image. Therefore, in the same way you render to Caesar that which belongs to him, all humanity is to render to God that which belongs to him. As Christians, this emphasis is more clearly offered and required. As redeemed people, we are to live our lives to the glory of God, primarily because of what he has done for us. We are reminded of that truth in the Westminster Shorter Catechism. “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever” (1 Cor. 10:31; Ps. 73:25-26).

The second section of importance in this chapter has to do with the issue of the greatest commandment (22:34-40). Jesus is tested and asked, “Which is the greatest commandment?” He answers directly from the Shema of Israel (Deut. 6:5). That is, our purpose in life is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The summation of the moral law is contained within these words. But, of course, we fall short of that command. None of us have ever loved God in this manner. That is why we need a Redeemer. Jesus adds that the second is like the first, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

God’s moral law in the Ten Commandments can be divided according to these heads: the first four commandments belong to the first command to love God. The second six commandments belong to the second command to love neighbor. Therefore, we are to love God and love others. When we are purposing to do these things, we keep the entirety of the moral law. As Christians, that should be our goal and delight. We should pray for that desire each day. We should ask the Father in heaven to give us what he commands. Therefore, pray, “Father, we know that we fall short of your moral law and all that it demands of us, but as your redeemed people, we have been gifted your Spirit to obey you in thought, word, and deed. Therefore, holy God, help us love you and others as commanded. Amen.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share via
Copy link