Jesus “began to speak to the people this parable: A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it out to husbandmen: and he was abroad for a long time. And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard. Who, beating him, sent him away empty. And again he sent another servant. But they beat him also, and treating him reproachfully, sent him away empty. And again he sent the third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
Then the lord of the vineyard said: What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be, when they see him, they will reverence him. Whom when the husbandmen saw, they thought within themselves, saying: This is the heir, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So casting him out of the vineyard, they killed him. What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do to them?
He will come, and will destroy these husbandmen, and will give the vineyard to others. Which they hearing, said to him: God forbid. But he looking on them, said: What is this then that is written, The stone, which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone, shall be bruised: and upon whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
And the chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on him the same hour: but they feared the people, for they knew that he spoke this parable to them. And being upon the watch, they sent spies, who should feign themselves just, that they might take hold of him in his words, that they might deliver him up to the authority and power of the governor. And they asked him, saying: Master, we know that thou speakest and teachest rightly: and thou dost not respect any person, but teachest the way of God in truth. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or no? But he considering their guile, said to them: Why tempt you me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and inscription hath it? They answering, said to him, Caesar’s. And he said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s: and to God the things that are God’s. And they could not reprehend his word before the people: and wondering at his answer, they held their peace”
It is interesting that the parable of the Wicked Vinedressers is immediately followed by the question relative to paying tribute or taxes to Caesar. The corner stone, obviously Jesus is referring to himself, will be the foundation upon which to build. Some who accept Jesus will be bruised, those who do not will be crushed. What then must one do to accept him – he or she must render to God the things that are God’s.
Jesus tells us we must separate Caesar’s things from God’s things? Caesar represents the state. God has a different sphere. Neither party should interfere with the other. Caesar should not dictate a person’s beliefs. Those following God should not dictate Caesar’s laws.
Unfortunately history has shown us that more often than not those who do Caesar’s bidding and those who represent God’s wishes have worked together. In more recent times a separation has occurred. That is disappointing to those who hold themselves out as representing God. They seek to push their beliefs onto the state so that all are required to follow them. One thing they particularly tell folk to fear is the rise of the secular state.
Those who follow Jesus seems they forget that Jesus approved of the secular state. He admonished the religious leaders by telling them to stay in their own sphere.
It also seems they forget America was set up as a secular state, the first in the world, where it is officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. It is to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion and to avoid preferential treatment for a citizen based on their religious beliefs, affiliation or lack of either.
Many have said America is a Christian nation. That is true when counting the beliefs of most of its citizens. But it was not set up to be one. It would be wise if the Christian leaders and the Supreme Court recognized that.