Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity 12 November anno domini 2023 Holy Communion

Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity                       12 November anno domini 2023       

                                                          Holy Communion

               The Epistle. Philippians 3:17-21              The Gospel. Matthew 22:15-22

                                                                        #210, 456, 563

                                                O God, our refuge and strength, who are the author of
                                                all godliness; Be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the
                                                devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things
                                                which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through
                                               Jesus Christ our Lord.                          Amen.

  Isn’t it interesting what powerful messaging comes from so few verses?  In just eight verses we learn several valuable lessons about Christian faith and how it pertains to everyday living.
    A. Jesus knew that these two rival groups of Jewish intelligentsia had suddenly joined forces to try and trip up Jesus. 15Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians First, they came at him with flattering words.  They spoke of his truthfulness and that he taught the truth of God. Then they pointed out that he didn’t care what man thought about his teachings and he didn’t cotton to any person’s position in society. “...., saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.”
 We do know that Jesus teaches the Truth of God and that he is not a respecter of anyone’s station in life. 
We are all the same in his eyes. Sinners in need of a Savior.  “...for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God...”. 
Notice that Jesus is not fooled by their flattery.  Jesus knew the wickedness of their hearts and even called them out; “...why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites..?”.   
  B. Now that Jesus has given them warning that he knows their motives, he then does the most marvelous job putting them in their place, not as a cruel lesson, but one filled with wisdom and simplicity. 
 By using an object lesson, Jesus emphasizes the truth of his nature. Throughout Jesus earthly ministry he would use simple object lessons [parables] to teach the truth. He would use ideas and everyday activities to teach profound truth, the TRUTH of the WORD.
 When he asks for a coin he asks them to describe what is on it. Notice how he says it. “...Whose is this image and superscription?”.   There is no doubt as to who’s image is going to be found on the coin.  All Caesars made sure that their image and a patron god or goddess was impressed on the coins of the realm.   21They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.  Then Jesus clinches the lesson. This is what we are to do living in a sin filled world.
  We are to give to Caesar those things which are his and we are to give to God those things which are His. 
 Notice that this is not about separation of church and state, quite the contrary, it is about being part of the society in which we live.  
We are to taught that the Christian religion is no enemy of civil government. We are in fact not to live separately from the world. We are living in the world, but should not be part of the world.  We give what is required to the world {taxes, following regulations, the ethical law of the land, etc. }, but also understand that Christ is, and will be, the wonder, not only of his friends, but of his enemies. 
 With Jesus’ rebuke of the intelligentsia by use of a simple illustration, this lets us know that who is on our side is far greater than all who are against us. 
And in spite of such a great lesson we will still see these folks walk away in their disbelief.
22When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
 They may admire Jesus wisdom, but will not be guided by it; they marvel at his power, but will not submit to it. Of course this will be to their detriment and eventual destruction. 
   So out of this object lesson what do we as Christians need to understand?
1. Even in his simplest nature, Christ is greater than we are. 
 2. His wisdom is above anything we could contemplate. 
 3. We must follow his lessons and apply them to our everyday living as Christ-followers ie. Christians.
Let us pray:

O ETERNAL God, our heavenly Father, who alone makest men to be of one mind in a house, and stillest the outrage of a violent and unruly people; We bless thy holy Name, that it hath pleased thee to appease the seditious tumults which have been lately raised up amongst us; most humbly beseeching thee to grant to all of us grace, that we may henceforth obediently walk in thy holy commandments; and, leading a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, may continually offer unto thee our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for these thy mercies towards us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast created man in thine own image; Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil, and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice among men and nations, to the glory of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


O LORD Jesus Christ, who saidst unto thine Apostles, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; Regard not our sins, but the faith of thy Church; and grant to it that peace and unity which is according to thy will, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.