God is Worthy of Our Hearts (Mark 12:13–17) - Radical

God is Worthy of Our Hearts (Mark 12:13–17)

And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
– Mark 12:13–17

No political leader or party is worthy of our hope and trust. Only Jesus is worthy of our hearts.

So why were Jesus’s words here in Mark 12:13–17 so marvel worthy? And there’s so much we could talk about, but in addition to him why is the avoiding this trap set before him? Jesus just provided a revolutionary picture of how people should relate to the government.

Since Caesar’s image was on a coin in the sense that the coin belonged to Caesar. So Jesus affirms here what we see throughout scripture that God ordains government as a good institution under his authority for the good of people. So we should render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s including taxes in this circumstance.

Mark 12:13–17 Reminds Us that God is Worthy of Our Hearts

But then what does it mean to render to God the things that are God’s? Think about it, Caesar’s image may have been stamped on a coin but where was God’s image stamped? And the answer to that question is so significant. Think all the way back to the very beginning of the Bible, Genesis 1, God’s image is stamped on every human heart.

In other words, Caesar may be worthy of a coin but God is worthy of our hearts. And that changes the way we view government under God. So we appropriately honor government and honor government leaders. We see this all throughout scripture. At the same time, we ultimately glorify God. No worldly leader is worthy of our hearts. No governmental authority or political party is worthy of our trust, allegiance, hope. Jesus alone is worthy of our trust and our allegiance and our hope.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for Help Honoring Others

So, God, we pray that you would help us to appropriately honor our government, honor government leaders. Particularly as we approach this election God we pray that you would help us to honor everyone as First Peter 2:17 says. Help us to honor everyone, every candidate, every person involved in any party, every person we interact within your church, every person we interact with in the world. Help us to honor people and help us to honor the government appropriately. Even as we say, “You have our hearts oh God.” All of our trust is in you. All of our allegiances belong to you. All of our hope is in you. We love you, God. We worship you, God. We want to glorify you. Jesus, we want to glorify your name.

Please help us to especially during these days where there’s so much division over political candidates and parties God help us to proclaim Jesus as Lord. Jesus is supremely good, as supremely loving, as supremely wise, as the leader we all need, God help us to be faithful to proclaim Jesus today to people around us who don’t know Jesus, to a country that needs what no political party or candidate can give.

God, you deserve the worship of every single heart, every single person in the United States of America and every other country and the world. You are worthy of all our hearts so help us to live for your glory. Help us to lead people, to know you, to surrender their hearts to you. Even as we appropriately honor the government and participate in political processes where we live. We pray in a way that is driven by your word and your spirit in our hearts. In Jesus’ name, we pray amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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