We have no King but Caesar.

    All indications show they never really meant it, but then again, maybe they really did. Who knows the heart of man but God alone? Is it possible these Jewish authorities had suddenly switched allegiance to Rome? Seems doubtful, but when Pontus Pilate brought Jesus out to the crowd and proclaimed “here is your king”, they shouted out, “crucify him”! In this pivotal moment they yelled rejection to the King of Heaven and roared the common day praise to the king of earth. This trial brought out the most revolting testimony from the backslidden nation whom God has So Loved. These leaders sank rock-bottom in using this statement to embrace an earthy kingdom while showing scorn for their Heavenly Kingdom. The truth is; their unified voice reveals the inmost core of all mankind up to this day.

   There’s no doubt true colors were shown in saying; “we have NO King but Caesar”. Knowing that these God serving men had God’s true King standing in their presence when this erupted from their inner soul is unthinkable. We know how much Israel had hoped for the promised Messiah to pave the way to greatness like the kings of old. That means their shouts were only lies, but, their tool of deception coincidently revealed a deeper truth inside their hearts at the same time. Their motive was to remove this so-called imposter, but they resorted to a phrase which reveals man’s nature to idolize earthy power and leave eternal dominion out. As elders they knew mankind was created to honor both, but the priority of “here & now” exposed national unbelief at the very top.

   Expressing Roman loyalty as the charges were made against the Lord Jesus was the handy leverage bar able to move any government official against an uprising figure. In this passage ministers of God used the words of man’s empire and of the scriptures; each in different ways whichever suited their calloused hearts at the time. And it’s no wonder. Many days prior Jesus spoke to this same crowd holding up a golden coin with Caesar’s inscription on it. He said; “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. This Word from our Lord means nothing actually belongs to us and it places a choice on every conscience as to what you will give to each. This crowd is blinded to what belongs to this King, and their temporary allegiance to Caesar is the same as saying our God has the same value as a man, or of political clout, or anything which gives the illusion of success in this world. And to the opposite, they became the force to shed the blood of our Eternal King who makes every earthy king very temporary. They just couldn’t see it; trusting in Caesar’s temporary gold is the same plague of idolatry written in their scrolls and it became the substitute of Faith in the Eternal Lamb of Glory.

   Think of it as the exact same time-lapsed reflection to Israel’s golden calf on the journey to the Promised Land. The calf represented the height of earthen value of that day, the value of bounty and multiplication of herds. The calf of gold meant exaltation to the best of meats and personal success in the finest things of the natural. When they made the golden image and chanted, “these are your gods oh Israel”, they were saying the exact same thing as, “we have no king but Caesar”. Israel had lost their original faith gained by such great salvation from Egypt at that time. And in the day of Christ; a 1000 years of history is repeated because man is no different. The scriptures prove many times over that mankind is subjected to losing faith in the Spiritual kingdom without knowing it, and thinking they have it, change it to something of the natural kingdom. So in light of the eternal truth - Yes, these fellows really did mean it! In their devious way to manipulate the death sentence of Jesus they revealed what God hated most among the clergy, which is still with us today.

    When Jesus preached about treasures in Heaven and earth he said, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money”. The servitude in these words reveals a basic of what Jesus died for. As servants of His we all fall short and fail in some degree in managing our earthen goods. Using them for the Lord’s work with sacrifice from the heart shows which master we serve. But, without True Love for our True King our money is counterfeit with devotion to the same golden calf and the same golden coin in Caesar’s kingdom. God’s beloved must watch out for the subtle ways of leaning their fruitful ministries on the earthy king just like this group did. When ministers continuously claim they need your money to further God’s work - while in His presence, they are sinking into this same hypocritical statement all over again. They fail to trust in the Lord of the secret place of prayer, and forget a few loaves and fishes are all that is needed when the hand of Jesus is there.

   The Apostles Peter & John wrote forward to today; sending us warnings about the wages of wickedness in the prophet Balaam. On the surface he refused payments offered by the king of the land, but the Lord used his own donkey to rebuke him for the dangers he could not see. Showing in advance, Godly greatness is not above a foolish downfall. Balaam spoke the Word of the Lord with great insight from the high mountains, and he blessed God’s people from a distance. But, the Spirit reveals the earthen king had taken the rule deep in his heart while being detached from the struggling ministry of Moses and the people. His wickedness was exposed in merging with the worldly for the sake of higher gain and His wages were same as theirs.

   We live under the laws of a temporary king, but we have an Eternal King! We are blessed in sharing the one because we’ve been anointed for the other. We are strengthened to persevere without the one, because we’ve been empowered for the other. We are limited in the one, knowing there are no limits in the other. May the Spirit of the Lord inside us always show which King we trust in. His Name be Praised forever!

Teaching Staff at Bethany EPC

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