Focal Passage: Romans 13:1-14
I just finished a series of lessons for 10-year-old children in Sunday School at my son’s church. With the help of their teacher, I was trying to let the children catch a glimpse of life in Jesus’ time. We had a time of “school,” but we also visited two marketplace shops each Sunday. We tasted, smelled, touched, looked at, and most fun of all, bargained for, different items in each shop. The children became very good at bargaining (with play money, of course).
One Sunday, a woman (the children’s Sunday School teacher) covered in rags visited. I drove her away from the children and chastised her because she wasn’t carrying a bell to ring to announce to everyone that she was “unclean.” She told us that she was very hungry, and I promised to get her food, but said that she must get away from the children. She left, but returned shortly, with her face and hands uncovered. I began to drive her away again, but she told us that she had seen a man called Jesus, and He had healed her. I questioned her closely to see if she had been to see the priests of the Temple to be declared healed (and clean), and she said that she had. Jesus, as healer, came alive for these children.
The next Sunday, as they were bargaining at the perfumer’s shop, the tax man came to collect taxes. I handed him a fair amount to pay my taxes, but he took all my money. I asked him how I was going to buy food for my family, and he said that it wasn’t his problem. The children were amused until he held out his hand and took all of their money, too. He told them that everyone must pay taxes. They stopped being amused, but soon after this, the tax man returned and gave us back most of the money he had taken. He told us that he had met a man named Jesus, had eaten with Him, had been changed by Him, and now he wanted to return all our money, except what was actually owed for taxes.
The children were very glad to have some of their bargaining money returned, but they still weren’t happy to render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s …” (Matt. 22:21).