Caesar’s And God’s
The tall, lean Edinburgh Ph.D. held up a denarius. It was the real thing, straight from his personal collection of first century artifacts. Several hundred teenagers sat before him as he began to explain the history of the coin. He concluded this introductory history lesson flipping the coin over and asking the teens whose head was imprinted on the face of the coin. One of the students responded, “That’s Tiberius, the Caesar on the Roman throne when Jesus was crucified.” The professor replied, “Go straight to the head of the class, A+. Then he invited everyone to turn to his text, Luke 20:21-25
“So they questioned Him, ‘Teacher, we know that you speak and teach straight. You don’t look on faces. You’re impartial and speak the way of God truthfully. So is it necessary for us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar or not?’ Fully aware of their trickery He said to them, ‘Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?’ They said, ‘Caesar’s.’ He said to them, ‘Indeed then, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’”
The theologian was reserved but crystal clear. He held up the coin and showed them Tiberius’ image again. Then he asked, “According to the Bible whose image are we stamped with?” After reminding us how Genesis 1 teaches that we were originally stamped with God’s image, how it was marred by sin in Genesis 3, he succinctly explained how Jesus, God’s perfect image and Son, died and rose again to restore God’s image in us. He concluded, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Give to God what belongs to God. How many of you will trust in Jesus so that God can reclaim what rightly belongs to Him?” Many teens stood and came forward.
I was in my teens, a counselor at Word of Life, when Dr. Ryrie gave this message. Dr. Charles Ryrie went home to be with Jesus in his 90th year on February 16, 2016. During his memorial service I was reminded of some of the last words I heard my friend and professor speak at Southern Bible Institute to a room packed with African American pastors, “Read the Word. Love the Word. Live the Word.”
Tomorrow we will return to in our devos in Luke 6 but today I wanted to honor my mentor, teacher, and friend from my boyhood. He showed me a life marked with God’s image.
LORD, comfort Elizabeth, Caroline, and Bruce in the loss of their dad. Give Dr. Ryrie’s grandsons peace. I can only imagine the conversations my dad and his favorite theologian are already enjoying.
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