Provision of the Tax Money
|The background story associated with this New Testament scenes stems from a situation
none of us look forward to: the necessity of paying taxes. The account is found in
Matthew Chapter 17, verses 24 to 27.
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.
|36 x 48
Gouache, acrylic, and pencil on canvas
|Worlds Bible Gallery
Bible Illustrator Trenét Worlds
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|It is important to take notice of how Jesus responded to this situation. First he points out
flesh and blood kings do not collect taxes from their own progeny, but from 'strangers.' So
the children are free, and not obligated. This in and of itself is an important illustration to
the saints of their position as part of the royal family of God.
But we know he also expressed to the Pharisees that his Kingdom is not of this world.
How much more then that in God's eyes the children of the Kingdom owe nothing to the
earthly monarchs? For the earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, and it is deeded to
the meek (the meek shall inherit the earth.)
Now Christ knows the ability to complete his ministry is vastly more important than
haggling about the moral, spiritual, or ethical obligations to pay the tax. So he instructs
Peter to go to the sea, cast a hook, and retrieve the coin lodged in the mouth of the first
fish that comes up.
This is the example we need to follow as saints of the Most High God: to give no occasion
for unbelievers to blaspheme God or speak negatively of our faith. The servant is not
greater than his master, and Christ demonstrates we should walk in wisdom to do what is
necessary to retain freedom to witness the gospel.
We also need to remember that God is a provider and will meet all of our needs
according to His riches in glory!
Wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.