Sermon prep for Proper 24 (Gospel: Matthew 22:15-22).  Re-reading bits of Christopher Bryan’s Render to Caesar: Jesus, the Early Church, and the Roman Superpower:

Still, for good or ill, as true or false, Jesus would have appeared primarily as a prophet, and as a prophet he proclaimed the imminent coming of God’s kingdom, which evidently meant, for him as for others, that God would fulfill God’s promises and vindicate God’s people (Mark 1:15, 9:1; Luke 11:20).  Naturally, such a proclamation had implications for those who held power in the present age–for masters and slave owners, for administrators and governors, for kings and emperors–since it relativized their power, declaring them accountable for their use of it.  If God reigns, then God reigns over everything, “for you know that you also have a Master in heaven” (Col. 4:1). [emphasis mine] (Bryan, 41)