Ultimate Allegiance Belongs to God (Matthew 22:21) - Radical

Ultimate Allegiance Belongs to God (Matthew 22:21)

“Then he said to them, therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God, the things that are God’s.”
-Matthew 22:21

In this one sentence, Jesus frames how we should view government, and governmental authority and governmental leaders. That there is honor that is due to government, governmental leaders. We see this not just here in Matthew 22, we see this in Romans 13, 1 Peter two. And it’s astounding to read 1 Peter two, “Honor the emperor,” and realize this was an emperor who was violently persecuting Christians. And the Bible says honor this leader. 1 Timothy two, “Pray for your leaders.” Romans 13, “Pay taxes.” That’s part of what’s happening here in Matthew 22, pay taxes; this is glorifying to God. This is part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Christians are called to honor the government. As we live as submissive citizens in our countries, we know our ultimate allegiance is to You.

At the same time, Jesus just made clear that ultimate allegiance does not belong to a human government or a governmental leader. That ultimate hope is not found in a human government or a governmental leader. That ultimate allegiance belongs to God, ultimate hope is found in God, ultimate obedience is to God.

So Jesus, we pause and we pray today, amidst a diversity of countries that are represented in people who listen to this podcast. And we say together, regardless of what country we’re in, what government is around us, who our government leaders are, we say together today, Jesus, you are Lord. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are president of presidents. You are ruler of rulers. They are in the palm of your hand, so we pray for them.

We pray in my country, for President Trump. We pray for other leaders, governors, and states, and other leaders in the government. And we pray for different government leaders in the world. We pray for names like Merkel, and Putin, and Johnson, and Xi, and Modi, and we could keep going on and on and on for leaders of other nations. We praise you, Oh God, that they are in the palm of your hand. That our ultimate allegiance is not to any one of them. And our ultimate hope is definitely not in any one of them.

We praise you that one day, they will all bow the knee to you Jesus, as Lord. And we pray, we pray that you would bring many of them to bow the knee to you as Lord today. And we pray for the salvation of the leaders in the world. And we pray for your grace upon them, that you would give them a fear of you, humility before you, love for the people they lead and wisdom to lead well.

God, we pray that you would help them to promote that which is good and right and just. We pray that you would help them to protect against that which is evil and wicked and unjust. God, we pray that you would help us to know how we can … God, we pray that you would help us to honor them in the ways that you’ve called us to. And in the areas of the world, where we have representation in our government, to use our leadership, our representation for good and righteousness and justice.

Ultimately, Oh God, we praise you that you are our Lord Jesus, that you are our King, and we gladly submit to you. We joyfully submit to you and we pray together, Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. We pray your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Please, Lord Jesus, usher in the day when your kingdom will rule and reign perfectly, and fully, and finally and completely. In a new heaven and a new earth, where sin, and sorrow, and sickness, and suffering, and evil, and wickedness, and injustice and death are no more. Bring it about. You are our hope. You’re our joy. You are our life. You’re our leader.

So help us to follow you today. Help us to follow you today. Help us to exalt you today. Help us to proclaim you as Lord today, that the nations might know Jesus is King. We pray this in his name, Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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