Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pentecost 23

Today's readings were Isaiah 45:1-7, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, and Matthew 22:15-22 (sermon text).

"Show me the money!" Jesus uses this phrase to expose the Pharisees' hypocrisy. They had tried, along with a few detested Herodians, to set Him up. Their plan was perfect...or so it seemed. Jesus replied to their two-way question, "Show Me a coin" and "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

We can learn much about our lives as Christians from the text. We have a duty to both our secular leaders (left-hand kingdom, in Luther's terminology) and to our heavenly King (right-hand kingdom), even if those secular leaders disobey God. The Kingdom is not about overthrowing earthly kingdoms.

The left-hand kingdom is meant to be a blessing and respected. Paul tells us to pray for our leaders. Don't expect a military or political messiah as the Jews of Christ's time did! Rather, don't pit left-hand against right-hand. Be a good citizen of both, not of neither, as Jesus demonstrated. Don't look to your pastor to tell you "how would Jesus vote." The pulpit (right-hand) is not a soapbox (left-hand) for a particular political candidate. Sermons about the person and work of Jesus Christ - not about left-hand matters - lend true comfort and wisdom. Appreciate your membership in both kingdoms.
This is so hard to apply, especially with the upcoming election! Pray for wisdom for yourself.

1 comment:

steve martin said...

Great post Hannah!

THe two-kingdoms doctrine needs to be reexamined from time to time (or looked at for the first time).