Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 22:15-22
Last Sunday we talked about the “wedding party” that God has prepared for us. At the wedding party, the groom is Jesus. Then, who is the bride? The Bible says that “God’s people who respond to the Gospel” is the bride of our Lord, Jesus. In John 3:29, John the Baptist says, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” Here the groom is Jesus, the friend is John the Baptist, and the bride is God’s people.You and me, we are the bride!
The Bible is full of the image of wedding between God and God’s people. For example, Isaiah 62:5b says, “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you!”Today’s Bible passage also says indirectly that we are the bride of God’s son. The teaching of Jesus has three steps.
- Give to the emperor the things that belong to the emperor (Matthew 22:21b).
- We know that the coin belongs to the emperor because it has emperor’s image (Matthew 22:20).
- Now, we have the image of God and therefore we belong to God (Matthew 22:21c).
How do we know that we have the image of God? Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created human in God’s own image, in the image of God,God created humans; male and female he created them.
A coin that belongs to the emperor! God’s people that belong to God!
It has the image of an emperor. They have the image of God.
The Pharisees tried to entrap Jesus in a dilemma. If Jesus answered, “Do not pay tax to the emperor!” then they would accuse Jesus as a civil resistance against the Roman authority. If Jesus answered, “Pay tax to the emperor!” then they would stir the crowd, saying, “Jesus is a puppet of the Roman government!” However, Jesus turned their question into a teaching moment. Jesus taught us this eternal truth: We are created by God in God’s image. We belong to God. We are God’s beloved.
So, let us not say that we are useless or nobodies. We are precious. We are God’s children. We are the bride of Jesus. We are invited to the heavenly wedding party not as just guests but as the bride of Jesus. So, today we are doing two things. First, we celebrate the Children’s Sunday, showing that we have children between God and us. Secondly, we want to renew our “marriage vow” with our groom, Jesus. Please, open your hymn book page 867.
Here is what Jesus would say as the groom. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”(John 15:9-11).
Now, it is our turn for us to say together as the bride. Say your name as the bride and “Jesus” as the groom when you read the vow in page 867 of the UMH.
Now hear what God has to say to us:“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.” (Song of Songs 2:10).
- When did you realize that you belong to God?
- What does make you to doubt that you belong to God?