There was great political unrest at the time that Jesus began His ministry, but did you ever see Him address the situation other than to pay His taxes or to reply to Pontius Pilate? “Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, ‘Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.’ And they brought Him a denarius. And He said* to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar's.’ Then He said to them, ‘Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's.’” (Matthew 22:15-21 emphasis mine) “When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, ‘Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?’ When Peter said, ‘From strangers,’ Jesus said to him, ‘Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.’" (Matthew 17:24-27 emphasis mine)
A few things in the above Scriptures caught my attention. In the first situation it was the Pharisees, the religious leaders, who hated Jesus and were wanting to kill Him, so they would try and set traps to make Him guilty of breaking some law. In addressing them Jesus called them out for their hypocrisy. What exactly is hypocrisy? It is trying to catch someone else in doing something wrong (in our opinion, not necessarily a true wrongdoing, but perceived to be by the person accusing) and wanting to shame them, arrest them or even have them imprisoned or put to death because they disagree with them. You can’t reason with people like that. In response, Jesus presented them with the facts which would leave them speechless. It didn’t change their minds, or their hearts. In the second scenario when Peter is suddenly confronted with a question he quickly comes into agreement with the men. It is obvious from the conversation with Jesus that Peter knew his answer was the wrong answer. So why would he agree with the tax collectors? I suspect it was out of fear. Fear causes us to act from an emotional level rather than from an informed, heart knowing level. Think about it a minute, Jesus didn’t have any money and most likely Peter didn’t either since he was no longer a fisherman. Where did Peter think this money to pay taxes would come from? When we react from a position of fear we do not think through the truth of the situation. The second thing that caught my attention was the way Jesus handled the situation, He didn’t get angry, He didn’t get mad at Peter because of his response, instead He used it as a teaching moment for Peter to learn and truly understand who Jesus was, and to learn a kingdom principal. Peter was made to think through the situation and see what he had done wrong. Then Jesus taught him something that all of us need to truly understand and learn to walk in, respecting those in authority. If Jesus chose to offend them, would they be open to hearing Him teach? Did they stand a chance at hearing the truth and receiving salvation? NO!
Jesus was not condoning the tax collectors but He did what was right and honorable in His Father's eyes. Now maybe we can better understand this statement that the Apostle Paul was giving to Timothy, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4) Are you a soldier (bond-servant) in the Lord’s army or are you a citizen of earth in the earthly army? Please note that I am not addressing those whom the Lord has called into political positions. He does call certain men and women to serve in leadership positions. However, many others are not called to these positions but are intent to make known their feelings and agendas about every little thing that “offends” them. They are not a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ and they are not representing the Lord!
This is a very important question and, unfortunately, most people in the church today are more interested in earthly happenings and situations than they are in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ! They hunt for Scriptures to try to make them fit their cause and they shame the Lord Jesus Christ in their self-righteousness! Are you serious about becoming Kingdom minded and seeking the will of God? Or are you more interested in fighting the earthly battles that surround us daily? Are you more interested in sounding indignant and attacking your fellow citizens than you are seeking God’s will and following in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ? There is a right way and there is a wrong way, and the right way is a very narrow path that few are following. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“I said, ‘I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,’” (Nehemiah 1:5) When Nehemiah was praying these words regarding Abraham to the Lord, he was also prophetically speaking of the new covenant that God would make through His Son Jesus Christ. Notice the first part which I have emphasized, "You found his heart faithful before You, and made a covenant with him to give him the land of the Canaanite, of the Hittite and the Amorite, of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite--to give it to his descendants. And You have fulfilled Your promise, For You are righteous.” (Nehemiah 9:8 emphasis mine) God is righteousness and He keeps (or preserves) His covenant with those who love Him and keep His commandments. How did Abraham show his love to the Lord? He kept his heart faithful to the Lord! In other words, the Lord would tell Abraham what to do and he did it! He didn’t have an attitude or go into an area seeking attention, he respected the leadership and the people of the land. (Yes, he made a few mistakes and allowed fear to enter his heart and make wrong decisions, but because his heart was for the Lord, the Lord protected him from harm.) He didn’t ask a million questions, he didn’t seek counsel with other men to get their thoughts, he didn’t count the cost. He simply followed where God lead.
Now let’s compare this with some Scriptures from the New Covenant. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” - (John 3:16 emphasis mine) Believe is to have faith in, commit to and put our trust with. This does not say that a person can believe there is a God or that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, no, it is clearly stated that when one believes that he now walks and talks differently. He now allows the Lord to rule his life and guide him. John, the writer of the Epistle of John further explains what believes means, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36 emphasis mine) Obey and believe can be considered synonyms and are pretty much interchangeable in Scripture. However, in a secular society one can obey a law or a rule or a person but not believe or trust in them. So we need to be careful not to confuse obedience without belief and trust in Jesus Christ as a way to enter the Kingdom of God. The following verses penned through the Apostle Paul gives us a clear picture of what a true belief is, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10) God’s righteousness changes us, our thoughts, our words, our actions, our beliefs, our way of living. We become Christlike and have a Kingdom focus, not an earthly focus. Our lives depend on the Word of God to direct our paths to reveal Him in this dark world.
Remember Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane? He cut off the ear of the priest’s slave! But Jesus had a reality check for Peter and for you and me, “So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?’” (John 18:11) “But Jesus answered and said, ‘Stop! No more of this.’ And He touched his ear and healed him.” (Luke 22:51) Were those who came to take Jesus doing a good thing? NO! But Jesus had His eye on His Father and what His Father’s will was. Was Jesus excited to go with the men? Of course not, He had just finished praying to His Father these words, “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.'’" (Matthew 26:39) He was in such agony that He was sweating blood! But His eyes were not on His comfort or what His followers wanted. His eyes were on God and His will only! There was a right way and there was a wrong way, Jesus chose the right way, the narrow path that leads us to salvation!
If you say you believe but do not obey the Word of God, what do you do with the following verses? “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:3-14 emphasis mine)
Peter didn’t understand. Peter knew that Jesus was the Messiah. Peter loved Him. But Peter was not on the same road as Jesus. He was still earthly minded. He still responded to situations by his emotions and his instinct and self-preservation. Peter was walking in His will, not God’s. And that is where many are today. They have no desire to die to their flesh and live by the whole counsel of God. They continue to interpret the situations in this world through their flesh, not by the interpretation of Scripture. Some who believe they are more kingdom minded follow false prophets and teachers who are teaching New Age and leading them away from Christ. They have created such a smoke screen that the people have become completely deceived because they have been fed a lie that they are leading the way to the return of Christ. When in fact, they are being swallowed up in deception, they are blind.
I pray that you are not one of those. If there is a tugging in your heart today that there may be a problem with what is being taught in your church or your bible study, please research and learn what the Spirit is trying to warn you about. If you contact me through this website I will give you the address of a very reliable discernment ministry that will provide you with answers. My prayer is that you take this warning seriously. The Lord loves you and desires for you to know Him in spirit and truth. Come, join with us on this adventure of learning the truth through Scripture.
Abba Father, I thank You that You care for us so much that You continually warn us of deception that is wanting to devour us. Satan doesn’t care who he destroys through his deceptions, his only goal is to hurt You and to destroy Your bride. My heart aches as I think of the question Jesus asks in the Gospel of Luke, "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) May we be like Job, "But as for me, I would seek God, And I would place my cause before God; “ (Job 5:8) May we seek You before it is too late! "I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. (Proverbs 8:17) “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalms 34:18) “so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?" (Hebrews 13:6) “Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.” (Psalms 54:4) You are my all in all. Thank You for Your amazing love, comfort and guidance. Without you I am nothing, all I am is Yours. I lift up each one reading these words today and ask that a quickening arise in their spirit, may there be a break in any deceptions that are attacking them and may they find freedom in the One, the only One who can set the captives free! I bow humbly at Your feet! Amen!