Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his word. They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Mark 12:13-14
Not much has changed. What we read in this story, we see and experience in our day. We’re pulled this way and that; we’re swayed and influenced in much the same way as people then. The leaders are intentionally promoting controversy. The opposing parties were fighting for their agenda, putting Jesus’ life on the line. They wanted Jesus to pick sides.
You have an agenda. I have an agenda. God has an agenda. So often we believe we have to pick sides, but there is more at stake in this life. Jesus’ accusers came to him and said, “you are a man of integrity and you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” His answer to them superseded the Roman Empire and the nation of Israel. God knew the intent of their hearts. Jesus caught them in their own trap. He put THEIR lives on the line. He asked them to pick between God’s Kingdom or the world’s. They walked away astounded.
Jesus’ question to them was not whose side God was on, but were they on God’s side? God’s agenda includes a redeemed and transformed heart for all people. The Pharisees and the Herodians were reluctant to give a few coins let alone their whole heart to God. God desires us to give our whole lives to him. Have you given your whole heart to Jesus? We are either for God or against him, uninvolved or engaged. Are you on God’s side and living his agenda in his way? Think about what an agenda for the Kingdom of God would be. List as many ways of Jesus as you can.
By Donna Burns