What a crazy world we live in. People being taxed to oblivion to pay for wants that someone else wants for us. Sometimes, much of the time taxes just don’t seem fair, nor impartial.
Jesus Christ, Son of the living God is King, and Lord or all; yet He subjected Himself to the affairs of men; even the paying of taxes. The taxes we look at in this study is a gift for the temple basically. You will find the beginning of this tax in Exodus 30:13, and it tells us that every male above the age of twenty, once per year was to pay this to fund the upkeep of the tabernacle and the temple.
There are some practical things we can see in this lesson; but we must not miss the miracle which was performed either.
“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.” Matthew 17:24-27 (KJV)
First of all they were at headquarters, the place where they met most often, for recuperation, and be with family and friends – Capernaum. Peter is questioned about the temple tax. Then, Jesus questions Peter concerning the matter of taxes. Who pays taxes sons or strangers? Of course we must realize that the government Jesus is referring to is a monarchy, a rule by king, and the king nor his sons would be required to pay taxes. After all they are the one’s receiving the tax.
Jesus illustrates that the children of the king are also free from taxes; but goes on to say, “Lest we should offend them, go…” Jesus is the King of the temple, He owns the temple, He is Lord of the temple, therefore free from the taxes of the temple, and then He states, “Then are the children free.” So as not to offend Jesus sends Peter on a fishing trip.
Here on this fishing trip is where the miracle takes place and a good lesson of faith, and practicality. Peter was called to follow Jesus, and he left his nets [fishing] and followed Him. Now when there is an immediate need Jesus sends Him back to do something he knows, but only for what he needs, and Jesus’s need as well.
The practical thing could be that Peter went fishing caught fish, sold them and then brought the money to pay the taxes for he and Jesus, but then we would miss the miracle. If Peter would have done that he would have missed it. How many times have we missed a miracle because we were doing what Jesus sent us to do, but we did more than what He said?
“Take up the fish that first cometh up.” was the word of Jesus to Peter, “and thou shalt find a piece of money”. If Peter would have taken all the fish in the net, and sold them, he would have missed the miracle of Jesus’s supply.
We should be able to learn from this that there are jobs, careers, vocations, which are honorable, bring us great rewards, and when we do them with honor, and joy, helping others along the way, then we can be blessed. Now it isn’t every fisherman who can go, catch a fish, open its mouth and find a coin, and it be the exact amount needed to pay taxes for two men.
Peter, for once, did what he was commanded to do. In doing so he was blessed and unnecessary offense was avoided.
Let us go and do likewise. Jesus is the King of kings.
-Tim A. Blankenship