Matthew 22:15-22 (Tribute to Caesar 5: Whose Likeness and Inscription?)

After the eyes of Him which are a flame of fire easily saw through their hypocrisy and exposed their true motives, what did Jesus say to the disciples of the Pharisees who were trying to trap Him?  See Mat 22:19.  What coin did they bring Him?  See Mat 22:19.  How much was a denarius worth?  See NAS textnote, as well as Mat 20:1-2.  How much is a day’s work worth for a laborer today, and what does that indicate about how much the poll tax was that each person was required to pay?  Although that may not seem like a lot to us in our affluent society where the industrial revolution and our economies of scale have brought the cost of essentials like food and clothing down in relation to our income, how would it have impacted those whose labors barely provide subsistence?  What is the significance that Jesus had to ask them to show Him the coin used for the tax?  Think: did He have upon Him one of His own?  What does this indicate about His poverty of worldly wealth?  Cf. Mat 8:20, 2Co 8:9.  How did that contrast with those who were confronting Him?

What additional question did Jesus ask of those seeking to ensnare Him when they had brought Him the denarius?  See Mat 22:20.  Whose likeness and inscription did they say was stamped on the coin?  See Mat 22:21a.  What did the likeness and inscription of Caesar upon the coin indicate about to whom the coin ultimately belonged?  Notice that the word used for likeness (NAS) means image (KJV) and translates the Greek word eivkw,n  from which we get our word icon.  What is the significance that this is the very word the Jews would be very familiar with that is used in Gen 1:26-27, 5:1?  Think: What does the stamped image of Caesar on that which is his teach us about that upon which God has stamped His own image?  What does this also help us to understand about the deep significance of Jesus’ conclusion to His object lesson in the remainder of Mat 22:21?  Cf. 1Co 6:19-20.  Although man was made in the likeness and image of God, his fall into sin separated him from God so that that image became tarnished and reflected less and less the likeness of Him in whose image he was created; what provision did God make to restore man to His own likeness and image?  See 2Co 3:18, 4:4, Col 1:15, 3:10.  What does this teach us about the true nature of salvation and what it means to be saved?  By what means in particular is one renewed to the image of our Creator so as to again bear the stamp of His ownership, and what is that stamp of ownership for the Christian?  See 2Co 1:21-22, Eph 1:13-14.  What does this teach us about the importance to our salvation of following the leading of God’s Holy Spirit?  See Rom 8:9,14, Eph 4:30.  Although one may have an outward appearance of religious piety as did the religious leaders who were confronting and seeking to ensnare Jesus, if he is always resisting the spirit of holiness into which God’s Holy Spirit leads him, should he then suppose he is stamped with God’s seal of ownership and is saved?  Cf. Act 7:51.

What inscription has God also stamped upon man?  See Rom 1:19-20.  What was the result to sinful men of willfully denying the true image of Him in whose likeness they were made?  See Rom 1:21-23.  What inscription does God stamp upon those who are redeemed by Christ and are being transformed into His image?  See Eze 9:4, Rev 7:3, 14:1, 22:4.  By what means is the name of God inscribed upon the redeemed?  See Deut 11:18, Rom 12:2, 2Co 3:2-3.  By what means is that stamp of ownership observable?  See 2Ki 22:19, Isa 66:2, Luk 8:15, 1Ti 1:5,19.  How does this stamp of ownership upon the redeemed contrast with those who are not redeemed?  I.e., what is their stamp of ownership, to whom does it indicate they belong, and by what means is their stamp of ownership observable?  See 1Ti 4:1-2, Rev 13:16, Isa 3:9, Jer 3:3, 5:3, 6:15, Eze 16:30.  How does this describe many today who say they are Christians, but see nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage, same-sex marriage, who justify divorce and remarriage and even abortion, and who have no qualms about cheating on exams or stealing copyrighted materials?  Which stamp of ownership do we have?  Are we like these, treating sin lightly as if it wasn’t the blood of God’s own Son that sanctifies us, wondering how close we can get to the abyss without falling in?  Or do we wince at even the thought of sin and flee from it, trembling for fear of God and knowing that our sins separate us from Him and bring wrath and judgment, and that it was to deliver us from our sins that He sent His Son to die for us?  Cf. Psa 119:120.

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