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Letters from Tim

Matthew 22. 15-22         Balancing Act


Where a thing is said is often almost as important

as the words that flow.

The very first words of Matthew’s account of the life of Jesus are:

‘This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David.’

This is important for Matthew - this standing in the line of the great King David. And here we are at chapter 22.

Jesus has spent the last chapter and a half stood in the Temple in Jerusalem.

The place where the Kings of Israel - those in David’s line were anointed.

This is where the claims of Jesus are tested and examined.

This place is important.

Here - a question about taxes is far more than a cunning trick.

This is about identity. Who are you Jesus?

Note the coin is theirs, not his.

By asking them to provide it Jesus is drawing them into the answer.

They participate in the system too.

And the answer Jesus gives underlines how thin the question is.

He underlines what we all know. We all walk a thin line.

In this world of a kingdom which is now and still to come

we all have to take part in the system somehow.

We’re all products of the world that we’ve grown up in.

To pretend otherwise is naive.

So every day is a challenge.

To walk that tight-rope once again without falling off.

To balance faith and the world.

To cope with the competing demands of what the world wants and what our belief asks of us.

We all try the same impossible balancing act everyday

Responding with as much honesty and integrity as we can

to the world and what it throws at us.

As he balances a coin in his hand Jesus reflects on that problem.

Which has confronted every generation of believers.

As he knew it would.


This reflection was written by The Rev Dr Paul Glass, Chaplain at Kent College Canterbury, and is based on this coming Sunday’s gospel reading.

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