The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Matthew 22:15-22

Trinity XXIII

1. Read the parallel accounts at Mk. 12:13-17 and Lk. 20:20-26 for a better understanding of the whole situation. The Synoptics supplement each other. The time is Tuesday of Holy Week.

2. A NT scholar wrote: "The Pharisees send a group of their keenest students to go with the Herodians to catch Jesus with the dilemma about paying tribute to Caesar, a live question in current politics and theology. They offered Jesus the alternative of popular disfavor or of disloyalty to the Roman government." At Mt. 21:25 Jesus had asked them an "either-or" question for their own good. Then He said: "What do you think?" They had to answer but refused. Now they come to Him saying: "What do you think?" and then asked an "either-or" question solely to trap Him. But He did not refuse to answer.

3. Jesus' enemies state three things (which they do not believe): "You are true. No falsehood in You"; "You teach the way of God truly"; "You are not swayed by prejudice or partiality." Though they are now denying that He is working with Satan (as they once said) notice that they did not admit that He was the Son of God. Satan and his agents never admit that Jesus is the Son of God.

4. Jesus' enemies are trying to impale Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. One scholar has written: "To answer it in Rome's favor would cost Him popular favor, and to answer it in favor of the people would get Him into serious trouble with Roman authorities, which would charge Him with disloyalty to Rome."

5. Now Jesus calls His enemies hypocrites because they do not seriously mean the words of flattery with which they addressed Him. Because of His divinity, Jesus sensed their wickedness.

6. Jesus virtually asked two questions which they were forced to answer: "Whose likeness is this?" "Whose name is this?"

7. The coin belonged to Caesar and represented his government. God Himself established that civil government. Rom. 13:1-6 and I Pet. 2:17. Therefore Jesus supported that institution of God. Here He means: "You must pay your taxes. You must obey your government. You must be loyal to your government because God established it."

8. But the Christian has another loyalty. He must pay the things of God to God. How much is that? Everything. When Job (1:21) said.' "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" he was acknowledging that he owned nothing, but that all belonged to the Lord. I am merely a steward of what God has loaned to me. I owe it all to Him. When a person realizes this he also begins to realize that he must support both State and Church.

9. The Christian lives in two kingdoms: the kingdom of earthly power, the government, and the kingdom of God, the church. The two must always be distinguished sharply but the two do not contradict each other. They must work harmoniously together, each in the other's interest. The state must have just laws and deal justly with all citizens. It must not invade the religious rights of its citizens. The church must use the Word of God and apply it rightly to its members, never invading the legal rights of anyone. Before the Lutheran Reformation the Papacy exercised two mowers, one over the state and one over the church. But the Lutheran Reformation broke this power of the Papacy. On the basis of the Bible Luther and his colleagues clearly stated that there are two kingdoms, the state and the church. The Papacy still claims that it has two powers but the Gospel has broken this claim of the Papacy. In fact, the Papacy has no power except that of the Gospel. All Christians are servants. None of them are masters.

10. Read the conversation of Pilate and Jesus at Jn. 18:36-37 and 19:10.11.

11. Jesus' answer to His enemies left them speechless. They still hated Him but they could not answer Him. Jesus is your model. Speak only from the Word of God. The Lord will stand by you and protect you.

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Matthew 22:15-22

Trinity XXIII

THEME: All Obligations Are to God, Expressed In Two Kingdoms


The Pharisees were fiercely loyal to the Jews, who hated the Romans. The Herodians were fiercely loyal to Rome which ruled the Jews with great difficulty. They came to Jesus with a question to trap Him. But He refused to be trapped. And His answer gives mankind direction in living for all ages of the world.




I am a citizen in two kingdoms, the kingdom of earthly power, my government, and the kingdom of God, my church. I owe each everything I have. It all is a gift of God and belongs to Him anyway.

This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.

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