{this post is part of Five-Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo Baker}

How it works: Write on one word for five minutes. No editing. Then link up your post with the rest of the brave writers on Five-Minute Friday and encourage them by reading and commenting on what they’ve shared. {All the details for how to play along are here.}

Today’s word: Crowd…

{Go}

9 And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. 10When the time came, he sent a servantto the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. 13Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send mybeloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’15And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!”17But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24“Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?”They said, “Caesar’s.” 25He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Jesus sits in the midst of the crowd. Once again they have gathered around him, seeking to be near him, seeking to hear his words. They close in around him, sitting close. He doesn’t seem to mind. Instead, he continues to teach them, his parables bringing further conviction of the Pharisees.

Because they fear the crowds, because they see that Jesus is calling them out, because he is indicting them before the crowd, the Pharisees try another tack today. They send spies into the crowd. Spies to blend in. Spies to pretend to be sincere. Spies to catch him speaking words against the government and therefore bring him to the authorities. To Caesar.

render to Caesar what is due Caesar (photo courtesy of edin dzeko on stock.xchng)
render to Caesar what is due Caesar
(photo courtesy of edin dzeko on stock.xchng)

But Jesus perceives this. Even as the crowd presses around him, he sees each of their hearts as plainly as if it were just him and that one person, not the crowd. When they pose their question, hoping finally to catch him, to rid Jerusalem of him, he answers them truthfully, boldly, without hesitation.

And these spies seemingly become one of the crowd. Hearing his words, they, too, marvel at his answer. At his truth. And they become silent. No longer out to get him but to be with him. At least for this moment.

Because there is no pretending when it comes to a relationship with Jesus. You are either all in or not in at all. You cannot have one foot in the world and the other in heaven. You cannot claim loyalty to both. They too often contradict each other.

We can live in this world. We can adhere to the laws of this world. We can render to this world what belongs to this world. But we will never be citizens of this world if we claim Jesus. By that relationship we become instead citizens of heaven. Sojourners in this world. There can be no dual citizenship. We must choose.

I choose Jesus.

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2 thoughts on “The Contradiction of Faith

  1. Judith, I love how you start so many of your posts (yes, I’ve been perusing your site) with Scripture and then expound…profoundly expound. I appreciate the emphasis on pretending here AND in your fig tree post. That was an “ouch” post, for sure! Thanks for the challenge to keep it real. What a thought-full site you have here. And those girls….A-dorable. Blessings to you.

    1. Wow, Lisa, thank you! Thank you for taking time to peruse my site and to read and thoughtfully consider my words. I appreciate your encouraging feedback!

      I cannot tell you how much your words mean to me. Though you might know as a fellow writer and blogger. Sometimes you just wonder if what you write matters. Thank you for letting me know that it does. Blessings to you, too.

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