What Is a Christian in America to Do?

July 5, 2020 / Pastor Terry Wilcox

What Is a Christian in America to Do?
Mark 12:13-17
Pastor Terry Wilcox

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” – Declaration of Independence

“There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with their country, a reflection of God’s lover’s quarrel with all the world.” – W. Sloan Coffin (Soldier, CIA Agent, Minister)

Throughout our history, America has experienced great turmoil. Certainly, this is true today. So, what is a Christian in America to do?


13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax* to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.

Mark 12:13-17

In Mark 12:13, we meet the Pharisees and the Herodians. The Pharisees were to the – they refused to cooperate with Rome because Caesar claimed to .

The Herodians were to the – political expediency overruled religious conviction when their survival was .

These two groups were willing to partner in order to get Jesus.

Their plan was a divisive, political issue – publicly asked, requiring an response.

In Mark 12:14 we see phony flattery and then the “gotcha!”

In Mark 12:15 we see that Jesus knew their hypocrisy. St. Mark used the word .

In Mark 12:15-17 we see Jesus’ answer.



Four Observations

  1. Caesar has a kingdom (Romans 13:1) comprised of 3 parts:
    • a
    • a
  2. God has a legitimate kingdom. Similar, but different.
    • God is eternally sovereign
    • His function is the of His creation
    • His “tax” is total to His will
  3. Jesus maintains the of Caesar’s kingdom & God’s kingdom. (John 17:16)
    • In a theocracy, the religious leader assumes the of the state, taking over its protective and peace-keeping function. The lines of authority and function become confused. The sovereignty of the state becomes the divine right of kings, ayatollahs, etc.
    • In totalitarianism, the state takes on the authority, function, and demand of God.
    • A reason to celebrate Independence Day is that the founders chose a different plan.

  4. In the event of a conflict between Caesar’s kingdom and God’s, Jesus says to choose God (Mark 12:17).
    • Acts 5:29

In Jesus’ time, there were Pharisees, Herodians, and Zealots.

Be cautious and pray for wisdom. They tried to trap Jesus with an either-or question. He gave them a answer.

Jesus wants us to see His of God restoring His creation and preparing us to rule with Him for eternity.


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