Sermon 6, April 7: Mark 12:13-17 “Who’s Image?” Reflection questions:
We are told the question Jesus is asked is an attempt to “catch him in his own words” so, what made it a tricky one to answer? It might be helpful to know that Herodians were supportive of Rome. Why might the Pharisees be ‘in cohoots’ with them in framing this question? The question is set up for a “Yes” or “No” answer. Therein lies the trap. In our day, where do we hear or encounter mainly questions that look for a Yes or No answer? What kind of worldview does it take for a person to ask only questions that call for such a clear-cut answer? Is Jesus, in the way he answered this question and many others (think of the expert in the law last week) also saying something about a Yes and No worldview? Did Jesus answer Yes or No? Was he evasive (who today needs to be skilled in answering Y/N questions evasively?) in his answer or did he really give a good answer? How would you put his answer in your own words? Was it wishy-washy, like a “Maybe” or a “Whatever” or was it something else. In my understanding of this passage today, the term “Image” is the keyhole, and bible knowledge, particularly of Genesis 1:27 is the key to Jesus’ answer making sense.
In this sermon I pointed out that Jesus was saying that Caesar was made in God’s image, similarly to how the coin was made in Caesar’s image. Jesus connected the two in a way that baffled the leaders who had fallen into what I think of as “Black and White” or “No or Yes” thinking without understanding there are other ways to look at things. I am starting to plan on doing a sermon soon after Easter in which I flesh that “Black and White thinking” as reaching for the forbidden fruit idea more.