As teenagers, you are at a crucial stage in your lives where you are beginning to form your own beliefs and opinions. It’s important to understand how your faith intersects with the world around you, including the realm of politics. The Bible provides guidance on this topic, and in today’s lesson, we will explore Matthew 22:15-22 to gain insight into how Jesus approached the relationship between faith and politics.
Bible Reading: Matthew 22:15-22
Read Matthew 22:15-22 together as a group:
“Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?’
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, ‘You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.’ They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, ‘Whose image is this? And whose inscription?’
‘Caesar’s,’ they replied.
Then he said to them, ‘So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’
When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.”
- Jesus’ response in this passage shows us that as believers, we have responsibilities both to earthly authorities and to God.
- The Pharisees and Herodians were trying to trap Jesus by asking whether it was right to pay taxes to Caesar.
- Jesus recognized their ulterior motives and used their own question to teach a deeper lesson about priorities.
- The denarius, with its image and inscription representing Caesar, belonged to the earthly authority.
- However, Jesus emphasized that we must also give to God what belongs to Him – our hearts, our obedience, and our worship.
- Why do you think the Pharisees and Herodians wanted to trap Jesus with this question?
- How do you interpret Jesus’ response? What does it mean to “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”?
- How can we apply this passage to our lives as teenagers living in a world where faith and politics often collide?
- How do you think our faith should influence the way we engage with politics?
Youth Group Game: “Balancing Act”
Divide the group into pairs or small teams. Give each team a set of balance scales (or use a makeshift version with a ruler and objects of varying weights). Instruct them to try to find the perfect balance between “Caesar” and “God” by placing objects on each side of the scale that represent different aspects of life (e.g., school, friendships, family, faith, politics). Encourage discussion within the teams as they make decisions on how to distribute the items. After a set amount of time, have each team present their choices and explain why they made those decisions.
Thank you for teaching us the importance of balancing our earthly responsibilities with our devotion to You. Help us to navigate the complexities of faith and politics with wisdom, grace, and integrity. May we always prioritize our relationship with You above all else, seeking to honor You in all aspects of our lives.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Remember, faith and politics can be challenging topics, but they are essential for our growth as believers. As you continue to explore these areas, always seek guidance from God’s Word and remember that your faith should shine brightly in every sphere of influence.