WHOSE IS THIS IMAGE & SUPERSCRIPTION?
In this teaching, we are discussing a pointed question that came from our Lord Jesus Christ which is very relevant to us today. Mark 12:12-17
12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
13 ¶And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?
15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.
16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, WHOSE IS THIS IMAGE AND SUPERSCRIPTION? And they said unto him, Caesar’s.
17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.
We see that some people are trying to use Jesus’ word as a trap against Him. Their intention for asking Jesus their question is mischievous. We obviously have a lot to learn from our Lord who Himself is the very Wisdom of God. He can never be defeated in a debate!
However, our emphasis at this time is to take a look at Jesus’ answer to the question asked. Let’s note that the Lord at times answers a question by asking another question (Matthew 17:24-27; Ezekiel 37:3). Whenever the Lord asks you a question, it’s a way of helping answer a question or solving a critical problem before you. Do always remember that whenever the Lord (Holy Spirit) asks you a question, it is because He wants to help you or solve a problem.
We Truly Have a Problem!
Jesus’ question to His hypocritical audience reveals the fact that there is a problem with those folks calling for an answer. As it were, the Lord is equally asking our present generation this same question today: “Whose Image and Superscription is this?” This same question is directed at our lifestyle, thought pattern, behaviour, business, ministry, relationship and all aspects of human dealings.
Image (Gk. EIKON) – a likeness (literally) a statue, profile or (figuratively) representation, resemblance, image.
Superscription (Gk. EPIGRAPHE) – an inscription or superscription, writing.
Hence, it can be surmised that we also have a problem calling for a solution. Meanwhile, the people’s answer to Jesus’ question brings out an important conclusion from our Lord: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”. Hence, a true balance is struck when we make a clear distinction or separation between what belongs to God and what belongs to this world (2 Corinthians 6:14-17). On the silver coin (denarius) was Caesar’s image and superscription i.e. his picture and text─ all expressing Caesar’s authority and ownership. That silver coin bears Caesar’s image and superscription; as Christians whose image and superscription does our lifestyle and faith currency bear? Or are we trying to be in two worlds at the same time?
Identity Crisis─ that’s the problem we have in the Body of Christ today, among believers and ministers of the Gospel alike. We try our best to carry on with the image of Christ while we still work hard (tooth and nail) to please and be acceptable to the world. I’ve heard ministers of God talk of ‘striking a balance’ in this present world, apparently presuming that we can still be ‘Christians’ and conform to worldly expectation and standards. In truth there can be no agreement between light and darkness, between righteousness and unrighteousness. There is no balance to strike! You are either here or there; there is no place for here and there Christians in God’s kingdom.
Let’s reason and think scripturally
James 1:8 ─Don‘t be double-minded. Gk. DIPSUCHOS i.e. ‘double-souled’ or having 2 souls. This is normally impossible; a person only has one soul! It is dubious and fraudulent to reside in 2 worlds.
James 4:4 –Friendship/fondness/affinity with the world = enmity/hatred towards God.
1John 2:15-17 ─Love of the world ≠ Love of God.
Our conclusion is very simple: put the world in its place and put God in His place. It will be more to your advantage to be on the side of the Lord than of the world. As for us the only acceptable image we bear is that of JESUS CHRIST and the only superscription or writing we bear is the SCRIPTURES. Shalom.