Sermon on Matthew 22:15-22 for Pentecost +20A, October 22, 2017
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
A song I like, by the band Wilco, has a line in it that says, “Our love is all of God’s money.” When I first heard it, I was struck by how odd the thought was that God had money. Why would God have money? Of course, I get it, that it is a metaphor – but such an odd one that I never would have thought it up.
But, when you think about it, maybe it is apt. We use money to measure value. We humans have been using money since at least 3,000 BCE, as evidence from ancient Mesopotamia indicates. In the bible, we read of Abraham buying the cave of Machpelah from the Hittites as a tomb for his wife Sarah. That story is set around the year 2,000 BCE.