Christian Citizenship - 2
June 21, 2021
When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?" He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?" When Peter said, "From strangers," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are exempt. "However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me" (Matthew 17:24-27).
The elders of Israel commanded Peter and John not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus, and threatened them if they did so. The two disciples replied, Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:16-22). Later they were brought before the elders who said, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men” (Act 5:28-29).
The Apostle Peter wrote (1 Peter 2:13-15), Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
Christians are to respect the authority of government as servants of God for the Lord’s sake. It doesn’t matter if we live under a democratic, socialist, communistic, or dictatorial government. This does not mean we are to be governmental doormats, nor does it mean we do everything the government says, especially when the government requires or demands that Christians disobey the explicit commands of God.
Today we are seeing yet another period of lawlessness and disrespect for law enforcement, for government, and for the institutions of government that we saw in the 1960s and 1990s. Much of it was political, racial, and ideological. People were killed, businesses burned to the ground, looting, etc. While Christians may sympathize with the motives for the unrest, our focus is first and foremost on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others and living the Gospel in front of others.
Jesus stood opposed to the corruption of the Romans and the Jews, but He did not do so violently. Jesus confronted false doctrine, abuse, godlessness, and racial bigotry, but He did so in love seeking to save mankind and to redeem the time, not to perpetuate the wrongs of His day. Did He suffer for it? Yes. Did Peter and Paul? Yes. So will any Christian.
“Lord Jesus, may we never be afraid to live the righteous principles of Your Kingdom in the corrupt culture that we live in today. Keep us focused on You and Your Gospel to Your honor and glory, Amen.”