It’s Out of My Jurisdiction

The Pharisees “plotted together how they might trap Him,” Matthew 22:15. They asked him if it was “lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” Matthew 22:17.

“…keep in mind the separate jurisdictions in the Bible: (1) the individual, (2) the family, (3) the church, and (4) the government.

…For example, the Bible speaks of bearing the sword to punish wrongdoers (Romans 13:14), but this verse is for civil government, not the other three.

…When we see a command in the Scriptures, we should always ask ourselves: To which sphere(s) did God direct this command?

…At the time of Jesus’ ministry, the Jews lived under a political system they hated and from which they were seeking a Messiah to deliver them, but it was a capital offense to stir up opposition to Rome or Roman law.

…If Jesus answered, “No,” it would be considered civil insurrection and the Romans would execute Him. But if He answered, “Yes,” He would lose support among the people, …Jesus answered this potentially lethal question by reminding them of the proper jurisdictions…”

“To Whom is God Speaking,” The Founder’s Bible, The Origin of the Dream of Freedom, pp. 1489-1490.

The Sadducees questioned him on a command to the family. They were unsuccessful.

Matthew 22:34, “But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together.”

New American Standard Bible

Next, they tried to trick him with a command for the individual, “Which is the greatest commandment,” Matthew 22:35-40.

Then Jesus pointed out all the ways the Pharisees exploited the commands to the church, Matthew 23:13-36.

As an individual, I do not have the authority to inflict punishment – that belongs to the civil government. I do not have the authority to discipline others children – that belongs to their parents. I do not have the authority to decide how the saints are equipped, (Ephesians 4:12), – that belongs to the leaders God established in my church.

My job is to “love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind, and my neighbor as myself,” Matthew 22:37-39. If I love my neighbor, I would never: murder him, sleep with his wife, steal his belongings, lie about him, or wish I had his belongings.

When I do as Jesus commanded – love my neighbor as myself – the “don’ts” are never a consideration. It is not a matter of “Don’t murder” but love, not hate, because hate leads to murder. When I do as Jesus instructed, I don’t desire to break any of those five commandments. When I love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, and mind, I don’t desire to break any of the first five commandments.

Proverbs 21:2, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.”

New American Standard Bible

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