This week's passage from Matthew's Gospel has me thinking a lot about rules and laws. I am thinking about all the conditions we put on ourselves and God to justify why we don't/can't follow them.
There are so many rules to follow - and the rules can often be different in different places or with different people. Rules become laws mostly for our safety - but we can always think of a way or reason that these rules don't or shouldn't apply to us - don't we?
We are also pretty good at putting conditions on things we ask from God. I'll do this - if you just do this....
We are good at interpreting for ourselves what we think God means when things do or don't happen. I know I sure am.
This week I am reminding myself of the mystery of God. And that I'll never understand this "plan" of God and maybe I am not supposed to. I am reminding myself to stop making excuses, justifications, and trying to rationalize things.
Jesus tells the Pharisees to follow the rules and laws of the land but also to follow God's rules without conditions.
The Pharisees are kind of mixed up even though they are religious leaders and they try to trick Jesus with a question. They are trying to find out what rules and laws Jesus follows. They don't understand that they and Jesus both belong to God. They ask Jesus about the paying taxes to emperor. And Jesus says “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give God what is God’s.”
Remember the Bible says we were all created in the Image of God and that we all, the Pharisees, Jesus, and you and me all belong to God. So when Jesus gave this answer to the Pharisees, he was saying that it was important to follow the rules and laws of the land— but we should also follow God’s rules all the time.
I am reminding myself this week about the sovereignty of this God that loves us all. We may never understand the hows or whys - but God is in charge and will comfort and love us while we try to navigate and negotiate our way through all the rules.