Running with Mark – 80


Day 80 – March 17, 2020  



Mark 12:13-17

This is an excerpt from my sermon on March 15, 2020.

“Bring me a coin and let me look at it.”  Someone pulls one from out of their coin pouch.


Jesus says, “Whose head is this”?  “What is his title?”


Remember a few weeks back when we talked about the Ten Commandments?  Commandment #2 says, You shall not make for yourself an idol – a graven image.  No carved gods of any size, shape or form.  Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them, because I am God, your God.


These religious leaders, these excellent keepers of the law, were violating the second commandment by having these coins. 


Whose head is on that coin?”  Caesar’s of course.

A better translation than head is the word icon.  Your phone has little icons for all the different apps you have. 


The coin, that icon, represented Caesar.


Jesus says to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and to God the things that are God’s”.  You’ve probably heard it as “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar and to God the things that are God’s



Everything hinges on the word “GIVE”.  A much better, and much more literal translation of the word “GIVE” is to GIVE BACK. 


Give back to Caesar’s what is Caesar’s.  


Jesus is so great at making his point.

That coin has Caesars image on it. 

It’s a little piece of metal. 

That’s all it is. 

Caesar made it.  Caesar minted it.  So give it back. 

That coin is NOT WHO YOU ARE.


Give back to the empire the things of the empire.

Give back the idolatry.

Give back the unfair system of Caesar.

Give back the unjust taxes.

Give back the corruption .

Give back the greed.

Give back the violence and the war.

Give it all back to Caesar.




GIVE BACK TO GOD the things that are God’s. 


What belongs to God? Everything God created.
Who belongs to God? Everyone.


It’s almost like Jesus is pleading with the Pharisees, sending them a not-so-subtle message…RETURN TO GOD.  You’ve gotten off track!


It’s as if Jesus is saying to the people in the crowd….



You can give this little, tiny insignificant coin back to Caesar.

But this big thing.YOUR LIFE.Give IT BACK TO GOD.

Return it to God.

All of it.

Don’t hold anything back.

Return all your life; your hopes, your dreams, your struggles, your sins, your failures.  GIVE IT ALL BACK TO GOD.


You may live in Caesar’s world,

but this world, Caesar’s world, is not your home. 

Your home is with God.


Whose image, whose likeness was on the coin?  Caesar’s.


Whose image, whose likeness do you bear?  God’s.

You were created in the image of God.

You are adopted children of God.

You were meant to live in the kingdom of God.



Give Me a Clean Heart – Greater Mount Calvary Church Choir


Prayer Focus:

What do we choose to give to the empire?  What do we give back to God?


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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