“Whose image and inscription is this?” (Mark 12:16)
There are times when talking with Jesus can be like taking an elevator from the ground floor of our earthly thinking to the penthouse of divine thought. Jesus has this knack for elevating topics both mundane and magnificent so that we can get a glimpse into his Father’s heart. And this is just what he did with the Pharisees who asked him a trick question about paying taxes.
The Pharisees thought they had Jesus cornered. If he said yes, that they should pay the tax, then he would be seen as caving in to Roman pressure. But if he said no, they could paint him as a rabble-rouser. But the conversation took an unexpected turn upward. Jesus invited his adversaries to see that just as a coin has the image of Caesar stamped on it, so too does the human heart have the image of God stamped on it. Just as the coin belongs to Caesar, so do our hearts belong to God. While the Pharisees spoke of rulers and money, Jesus elevated the conversation to talk about God’s authority and his love.
We may not be trying to trick Jesus, but we may still find ourselves asking him to approve a plan of ours that is questionable. Sometimes this works—especially if we give the Lord room to suggest a different path. Taking our thoughts, assumptions, and desires to the Lord is also a good way to uncover which thoughts are rooted in his gospel, and which may be rooted in our fallen nature or in the philosophies of the world.
But there is another strategy as well. Instead of looking for Jesus’ confirmation or redirection, give him the freedom to elevate the conversation to a whole new level. Lay aside your plans and intentions, and just come and sit in his presence. Let him shower you with his love. Immerse yourself in his word, and let his wisdom shine new light into your heart. It’s true that you may not get an answer to your immediate question. But you just may come out of your prayer so refreshed and inspired that you will know exactly what you should do. All because Jesus lifted you up!
“Lord, show me your wisdom. I want to reflect you to everyone I meet today.”