After Jesus and his disciples arrived back at their home base of Capernaum, the temple tax collectors came looking for them. Jewish law required every male to pay an annual two-drachma tax in support of the temple in Jerusalem.
They asked Peter a question:
“Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes, he does,” he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?”
“From others,” Peter answered.
“Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
Let’s look at our 2 BIG Questions:
1. Who is Jesus?
Jesus implied that he — as Son of God and Lord over the temple — was exempt from the temple tax, as were God’s other true children. He then once again demonstrated his power over nature by directing Peter to a fish who just happened to have a coin in its mouth covering the exact amount of their taxes.
2. What exactly does he want us to do?
We should pay what we owe and avoid needlessly offending others.
As Paul later said: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. … Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes.” (Romans 13:1, 7) He also said this: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” (Titus 3:1)
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / arka38)