Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Brother, Can you Spare a Denarius?

I'm speaking this weekend for the third week of RESET from Luke 20:20-26:

Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

He saw through their duplicity and said to them, "Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?"

"Caesar's," they replied.

He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

I got to thinking. I need me a denarius. I wasn't sure what I would do with it if I had one, but how cool would it be to have an actual coin dating back to the time of Jesus? I put the word out on twitter and facebook on Tuesday and people around the world started looking for the coin for me. (They aren't super hard to find - just hard to find on my budget which is near nothing.) They gave me some solid leads, but we didn't get one. I tried a few bids on e-bay, but then decided that there was a good chance we wouldn't get it here on time for the weekend even if we won the auction. Plus it was getting a little pricy.

So today I willed myself a denarius. I started calling coin dealers around the country and asking them to give me a $150-200 historical artifact for free. It only took me three calls to find a well-educated, Jesus-following Roman coin dealer named Guy Clark. Guy patiently took the time to educate me on the exact coin I was looking for. (Turns out there are only two options that the Luke 20 passage could refer to - The Augustus Denarius or the Tiberius Denarius. He also told me that based on archaeological finds in Judea, it would be more likely that Jesus would have been shown the Augustus coin.)

We tried to work out a deal to buy the coin, but the more we talked the more he opened up about his faith and his passion around his career/hobby. By the end he agreed to send me the coin for a week if I would just pay for shipping both ways. I humbly accepted. So, VCC is getting an Augustus Denarius dating to the early first century for $17.50 this weekend. I'm pretty excited about that.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with it...

This isn't our coin, but it will look something like this:

Now, here's what I need from you. The next time you are in the market to buy an ancient artifact, support my friend Guy at

1 comment:

random blogger said...

that's cool!