3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2019/10)

Luke 20:19-26 (ESV)
19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Day 1: Loving God
Jesus says in verse 25, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” First, Jesus asserts that Caesar, contrary to his own presumptuous claims, is not God. He distinguishes Caesar from God. Second,Jesus had asked in verse 24, “Whose likeness and inscription does [a denarius] have?” And people replied, “Caesar’s.” It is appropriate for people to pay Caesar the poll tax, because the denarius has his “likeness,” or “image” on it. This begs the question, what are “the things that are God’s”? What has God’s image on it?
The word “likeness” is the same word that is used in Genesis 1:26 at the time of creation, when God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Humans have God’s image stamped on them. They were created by God to represent Him and resemble Him by ruling over the earth as his vice-regents. So then, what are “the things that are God’s”? Your whole selves! Your very lives! You owe taxes to Caesar, but you owe everything to God. God is to be our ultimate allegiance. Is there anything or anyone that has had a higher claim upon your life than God?
Jesus, as it says in Colossians 1:15 is “the image of the invisible God.” He is the image of God in man restored. We as human beings were created as God’s image-bearers. We were meant to represent Him and resemble Him, but we failed in this regard and sinned against Him. Christ came to redeem us and to restore the image of God in man. In what ways is God calling you to be more like Christ?
  • Confess the things in your life that you have not fully submitted to God, whether that’s an aspect of your time, relationships, money, or abilities, etc. Entrust these things to God.
  • Confess the aspects of your character that do not conform to the character of Christ, e.g. His humility, love, righteousness, truthfulness, gentleness, patience, selflessness, etc. Ask the Spirit of God to change you.
  • Pray that God would fill you with wonder and gratitude in response to Christ’s life-giving sacrifice.

Day 2: Loving One Another
It says in verse 19 the the Jewish leaders “feared the people.” They are crowd-pleasers. But Jesus, as His answer in verses 24-25 shows, fears neither Caesar nor the masses. It says in verse 20 that the spies acting on behalf of the Jewish leaders “pretended to be sincere.” That phrase in the original Greek is literally, “to play the hypocrite.” In contrast, from the mouths of these spies, Jesus is declared in verse 21 as someone who “speak[s] and teach[es] rightly, and show[s] no partiality, but truly teach[es] the way of God.” Jesus speaks forthrightly and truthfully in contrast to the Jewish leaders and their puppets.
In their anger, the Jewish leaders sought to “destroy [Jesus]” (19:47) and tried to “catch [Jesus] in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor.” They harbored murderous intent, all the while Jesus was on His way to the cross to lay down His life for the salvation of His people.
Are your relationships with fellow church members characterized by fear (what will they think or say about me?) or insincerity (flattery, manipulation, hypocrisy, deception) like that of the Jewish leaders, or do you “speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality” like Jesus?
  • Repent of the ways in which you have been insincere with and/or fearful of other believers, and for ways you have shown partiality to certain people. Pray that God would fill you with the fear of God and greater love for the whole church.
  • Bring the needs of our Christian brothers and sisters to Christ in prayer, for healing, for sanctification, for provision, etc.
  • Is there a brother or sister that God is calling you to speak the truth in love to? Pray for that brother or sister, and pray for God’s wisdom, patience, love, and gentleness, so that you are able to do that.

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
The spies asked Jesus an either-or question: “Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” “Should we serveCaesar as our king, or should we serveGod as our King?” But Jesus answers with a both-and answer: “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” There are duties to civil authorities and other superiors in life that do not infringe upon our ultimate duties to God. We should perform those duties. But civil authorities also do not have total claim on us, our allegiance to them is subordinated to our allegiance to God.
Have you neglected your duties to the authorities in your life (you parent, your boss, your teacher, your governor, your president, etc.)? In what ways is God calling you to be a better representative of Christ in your family, at your work, and in society?
Colossians 3:22-24 reminds us, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Pledging our ultimate allegiance to Christ should make us better employees, students, and citizens, because we do our work “for the Lord and not for men.”
  • Pray that God would give you faith so that you work for the reward that you will receive from the Lord and not for the reward of men.
  • Pray for our city, state, and country. “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, or kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
  • Pray for gospel opportunities with your family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Pray for their salvation.

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