The Fractions of Life

A silver tribute penny: a denarius from the reign of Tiberius (14–37AD)

A silver tribute penny: a denarius from the reign of Tiberius (14–37AD)

Our Gospel readings this month take us through Matthew 24, with its rich seam of sermon material about the wise answers given by Christ to the questions of his critics. William Weedon reflects on one of these passages in these words:

So the question to our Lord, the trap, about whether one ought pay taxes to Caesar. It’s a fraction question. How much does Caesar get?

Our Lord does the oddest thing when he asks for the coin. On it, of course, an image and an inscription. A picture and a name. Whose? He asks. They think He’s demented. Caesar’s of course.

Of course. So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God give back what is God’s.

Ouch! For there’s the rub. We are rather like the coin, aren’t we? Made in God’s image, and He has put His name on us as His very own. But we must confess that in our lives the image is quite damaged, so much so that at times it would be quite hard to gauge what God is like by looking at us. Vindictive. Angry. Short-tempered. Always at work trying to preserve for ourselves our part of the fraction of life and trying to increase it – the part that we’re the Caesar of. Or that we like to think we are.

And there He stands. The very image of God in human flesh and blood. Look at Him and you see God straight the way He truly is. Here for once was a human being who didn’t run the fractions.

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Think about these, and other challenging words from our Lord, as we join together in worship