A few men come to Jesus disciples asking if Jesus is going to pay the temple tax. Jesus knows that He is exempt, since a Son should not have to pay taxes to His Father. But surprisingly, Jesus agrees to pay the tax and instructs Peter how to do it. He doesn’t tell Peter to get the money by ordinary means, for example, by telling them to go work to earn some money. Instead Jesus has Peter go fish, and delivers the money from the mouth of a fish.
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“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.” – Matthew 17:27
If this is not a perfect example of Jesus showing His authority over the earth and everything in it, I don’t know what is! He shows here how God can provide for us above man-imposed rules. He says, “ok, if man is going to impose a tax on you, then I’m going to have the fish pay it for you.” He wants to make sure that Peter knows that it is God who can always provide if we just believe.
I also think it is interesting from the standpoint of where Jesus says to do it so that we may not cause “offense”. Being a role model for the disciples, he shows them that sometimes we do what we have to do to live at peace with others. Even Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Christ-centered love and living will lead us to, and give us our best chance at, peace. But in the end, we can’t guarantee that there will be peace. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” just may not be possible. Men and women on this earth are flawed and without the same love of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, peace may not be possible.
Jesus recognizes that there will not be peace with evil forces and satan. And since we live on earth, the devil’s playground since he has no place in heaven, we can’t expect there will always be peace with those who run with the devil. “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three” (Luke 12:51-52).
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While the Word of God does tell us to love one another and do our best to live at peace, the Word also tells us to “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – (James 4:7). The Word of God also instructs us that, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” – (Matthew 10:16). So while we are to do our best to live at peace, let us not fall prey to the tricks and attacks of evil. Don’t let those running with the devil try to twist scripture and use that against you.
The main thing to understand is that the truth of the gospel, of Christ crucified, risen, and reigning, and our necessity of faith in him, is more precious than human peace. The gospel creates peace with God. And the gospel creates lovers of humble peace and workers for peace. But the world that crucified Jesus Christ does not always want the peace that he offers. The world version and view of peace is flawed, because it does not rely on God, but on man who is flawed, and not on God who is flawless. So let our peace be peace first with the gospel and God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. And let everything we do be for His glory.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your Word today! Thank you for such amazing insight and wisdom and revelation. Let your Word cleanse us from the inside out. Help us to rely on you and you alone. Help us to get out of our own way, and let your power and authority take control. Help us to seek you first each morning. Help us to realize that teachings from man will never even come close to comparing with the Word of God. For you created the heaven and the earth and everything in it. Why would we ever think that man’s explanation, the one being created, could ever be greater than the Creator? Remove our foolishness, our pride, our poor intentions, our judgement, our greed and earthly desires. Fill us with more of your goodness Lord, so much of it that there is no room left in this vessel for anything bad, or dirty, or ugly. Renew us from the inside out. Let your light shine through us, by the power of the holy Spirit, in Jesus name. Amen.
Image courtesy of: Art4TheGlryOfGod by Sharon
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