This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s Message: A Regime Change (CLICK HERE)
Three times in the Holy Week events coins show up.
One set of coins gets scattered.
One coin gets shown.
One set of coins gets the suspect.
Coins indicate value. If we have more coins, perhaps we have more security. Coins communicate our worth as an employee as compensation is usually determined on how much coin you can provide to the company in return for your work.
Coins can capture our hearts and the little silver or gold pieces can be items we clutch on to with an iron fist. Coins can breed corruption when the value of those coins takes primary place in one’s heart. Coins are spiritually neutral. They are pieces of metal that have been assigned some sort of value. The spiritual implication of the coin is how the heart engages with it. So it’s interesting there are three encounters Jesus has with coins:
First, the money changers in the temple.
With so many people coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, there were individuals with animals for the sacrifice that travelers could purchase instead of bringing their own. While one may say selling animals for Passover sacrifice was a “legit business,” the location of taking over the temple courts with a market place turned the purpose of the temple from a place to worship the Lord to a place to worship coins.
So Jesus turned over the tables and drove out the dishonest money changers.
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Matthew 21:12-13)
The second encounter with a coin was a trap. Jesus was asked if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar. Instead of either being loyal to the Romans or being loyal to the anti-Romans, he simply asked for a coin.
Matthew 22:18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Jesus wasn’t going to get trapped into a question of loyalty. Obviously his primary loyalty was to God. He wasn’t going to stop the tax coin from going to Caesar, rather he supported the payment of taxes as to that which is owed to Caesar. Yet, he also acknowledged that God is also the recipient of our coins.
How we use coins can indicate the loyalty of our heart. Some have said, “Let me see your expense sheet, and I will show you where your heart is.” There is truth in that.
Yet Holy Week was not about simply removing coins improperly used and using coins in a proper way, it was a detail that leads us to understand that what Jesus came to do was beyond the scope of a financial transaction. What he came to do was something the government could never do. What he came to do was priceless and no amount of coinage would cover the cost.
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:18-21)
Tomorrow…the third encounter with coins.
Apply: What do coins mean to you? How do they challenge your faith or support your faith?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for doing for us what coins never could. AMEN.