The Faithfulness of God

Matthew 22:15-22

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap [Jesus] in what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

About six years ago, I led a group of 14 on a trip to the Holy Land, and in that group were my wife and my mother-in-law. Any time we talk about going on a trip, people will ask, “Is it safe?” On the one hand, we had the news reports of the unrest. On the other hand, we had the people who lived there and the travel company saying all was safe, including the contact we made with the pastor who served the Lutheran church in Jerusalem. I had a group that trusted me to make a wise decision about the trip. And while I was confident we were going to be safe, I was also aware of those who placed their trust in me. Some people decided not to go on the trip, because they were concerned about the unrest.


Where do you turn? Who can we trust?


We turn to Jesus. A few short days after this encounter with the Pharisees and the Herodians, Jesus is arrested, beaten and nailed to a cross. Jesus dies alone on the cross and his followers gave up hope and trust that Jesus was one who would save them.


But God is faithful and true to his word. Jesus does exactly what he said he would. He battles sin and death and wins. Through Jesus Christ, we are assured that God has not given up on us. He comes to give us life that only he can give. His forgiveness and life are given as a gift to you and me, not because we have earned it, or deserve it. No – it is given because God loves you.


God promises are always kept. God’s grace always outweighs every sin. God’s love is always more than we could ever imagine. In this you can trust.


Oh, I am sure there are times we will question God’s actions or when we perceive a lack of action on God’s part. We will place our trust in other things, because it seems to meet our needs at the time. But in the end, one thing is certain. God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good. God is the one who holds our future in his hands, and promises us life. Abundant life.


And in the midst of the uncertainties, the broken trusts in our lives, may we turn to God for direction and guidance as to how we can best use our resources and best make decisions as God would have us do.


And when we misplace those resources or make bad decisions, know that God is a forgiving God. This is the good news of Jesus Christ. He died for you. He rose for you. In this you can be certain.


God is always ready to love those who bear the image of God.


In God we trust.  


Let us pray:

Dear God, you have named us and claimed us as your own. On our brows we bear the Cross of Christ. Made in your image, imprinted with this seal, we know we belong to you. For this we thank and praise, serve and obey you. In you we trust. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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