I found this in my journal from 10/2007:
Today’s reading was the census tax. I was struck by how Jesus said, “Whose image is this, and whose name is inscribed on it?”
Because that’s the first time I really connected it: we are made in God’s image. God’s name is inscribed on our hearts.
So giving God what is God’s is really just giving ourselves, stamped and inscribed as His. That made me feel good.
I’ve heard that passage so many times, and I wonder how often there’s a double-meaning where Jesus is linking one thing in scripture to another (I’m guessing the same thing he did at age 12 in the temple) and you just have to make the connections between them.
I think the men he spoke to would immediately have caught the “inscribed” and “image” references. But culturally we’re so far removed from that place and time that it gets difficult. I must have heard that story fifty times. It took until the fifty-first time to make the connections his listeners would have made immediately.