Reflections from Beyond the Pulpit – How to Be an “Expert”

by Stan Hudson who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference

It’s kind of fun being thought of as an expert on anything. And it’s not that hard to be one. Here’s the simple way: find some subject, any subject, that NO one wants to take the time to study deeply. Make it a hobby interest of yours and people will gladly defer to you as “the expert!”

Know what I’m an expert in? Coins of the Bible! Growing up in the ‘60’s, coin collecting was what a lot of us American kids did. One day, after I had become a young pastor, I wandered into a coin shop and saw a small display of what was labelled “genuine widow’s mites.” I asked for a look and then I was hooked!

I will include over the next couple of issues an illustration or two on these and other Bible coins and what we can learn to enhance our sermons. Here are two half dollar-sized silver coins from the days of Jesus that circulated in the Holy Land. Under Roman rule the Jews were not permitted to issue silver coins, so this forced the Jews to use coins with graven images. These coins were “staters” or “four drachma” pieces. They were equivalent to Jewish shekels, and were the two options for temple use (for instance, the “temple tax” was two drachmas).

On the left is a stater from Antioch, dated, interestingly enough, to the year of Jesus’ birth (5/4 BC). It has Augustus Caesar on it. The coin on the right is from Tyre and has a modernized picture of Baal on it! This means that the priests and Sadducees of the temple had two bad options to use for their coins: they had to choose either Caesar or Baal for their official currency. Which did they choose? BAAL! Think of the irony of Baal’s coins to support the worship of Israel’s God. Yet that seemed preferable to Caesar’s image.

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