Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar´s and to God what is God´s.” And they were amazed at him. Mark 12:17 (NIV)
Is this one of our favorite texts? Does it show how Jesus refuted neatly the tricks of ungodly men? Did those men stand in the way of the work of God? Does it show how Jesus remained above the quarrels of lesser themes and consistently drew our attention towards Heaven? Do we feel good when we see how He stopped their attempts to trap Him by turning the question around on them? Do we quote the text often? Do we enjoy hearing eloquent preachers elaborate upon it? Can we easily answer “yes” to these questions? Yet how often do we use this text to examine the state of our own heart?
Is the Bible a book written to stimulate the intelligence? Or is it directed a little deeper? Would the things written of go beyond our brains capacities for assimilating information? Should the words, concepts and teachings be limited to how well we can use our brain? Or is it directed to touch us a little deeper? Does it go behind the calculating and weighing? Does it go to our very soul? Does it go past the out-workings and reactions and into the causes and reasons? Does the spiritual world start where the cerebral world finds its limits? Do we find ourselves beyond processes of information and into the land of the heart? Does God´s word go that deep for us?
Jesus found Himself constantly challenged by well educated men. These people found that information gave them power. The brain is a beautiful work of our Creator and He is surely pleased to see us use them. All the mighty saints who have approached the Lord on deep and profound levels have displayed an amazing intelligence. But is the wisdom of God like the wisdom of men? Is there a difference in where we direct our intelligence? Do men glorify God by their accumulated knowledge? Or do we use it to put ourselves forward?
The dilemma did not start in Jesus´ day. What was it that Satan used to entice mankind into turning from the will of God? Did he attack Adam and Eve within the heart? Or did he reach them by toying with their brains? Can such a powerful tool as the intelligence of man be misled or distracted easily? Does the brain gain momentum by its achievements and sometimes allow other things to be over-looked? Did Adam and Eve want to hurt God by their actions? Or were they tricked into thinking that they could gain themselves some new wealth of knowledge through their disobedience?
Our story here is beautiful in that Jesus brings us back to the heart of God. He cuts cleanly past the external world of money and coins. He slices right through the evil tricks of cerebral work and fine thinking. He pierces directly to the center core! He gets to the heart and the soul! He brings all mankind directly into the Presence of God! He leaves us standing there with our hearts exposed!
So what do we do with this text? Can we reason it out? Can we get the finest minds together and figure out where our Lord was going with it? Or should we let it shine into our own souls? Shall we realize our own nakedness? Shall we realize that we all stand exposed in front of God Himself? Shall it show us where we stand with Him?
Dear Jesus, thank You for giving us intelligent brains. Thank you for a wealth of knowledge. But please show us how to use that wisdom and knowledge to approach or Father. All other intelligence would just be folly. Show us how to be smart and turn to You. Teach us to use our minds to dig deeper into our hearts so that we can offer our entire being to You. We would go where our cerebral work will not take us. We would follow You past ourselves, the cross, the grave and on into Your Kingdom. Let us be that smart today!