URC Daily Devotion Friday, 8 March 2024

St Mark 12: 13 – 17

Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said.  And they came and said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?  Should we pay them, or should we not?’ But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, ‘Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.’  And they brought one. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’  Jesus said to them, ‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they were utterly amazed at him.


The focus here is on a coin – or more accurately on the face on a coin. Caesar’s face. Stamped on a coin for circulation throughout Caesar’s empire. Making sure everyone knew who he was – and who was in charge. As he thought.

Human arrogance and pride.

And has it changed? Think of all those tv programmes with B-list celebs (most of whom I’ve never heard of) desperate to get their faces on tv?

And Jesus? We have no pictures of him. Maybe none of his friends were artistic? Or maybe he just wasn’t interested in selfies! He always pointed attention back to his Father. Even in this trick question by the Pharisees. ‘Give to Caesar what is his and to God what is his.’ (And nobody dared to point out that since God is sovereign over all, Caesar and all Caesar thought he possessed actually belonged to God.)

As we look around at our world, do we recognise that everything and everybody belong equally to God? And although unlike Caesar, God hasn’t stamped his face on millions of metal coins, each person we encounter, every moment of every day, embodies the image of God.

And we see what that means for how we are to live in Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said she saw the face of Christ in the face of each person she served – poor, dying, whatever.


Lord God, you are not absent from our world. We can meet you in every person we encounter, and honour you in how we treat them. Give us a fresh awareness of your presence. Amen

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