The miracle in Gospel (Matthew 17:22-27) — paying taxes with the help of a fish — is an example of how Jesus likes to deal with unfair situations. Did Jesus already have money for paying the temple tax? Maybe he did — how much was in that purse that Judas carried for the group? Perhaps it held only enough to buy the apostles food for that day, but this is not the explanation that Jesus gave for the miracle.
Jesus told Simon Peter to go fetch the tax payment from a fish because he wanted to teach a lesson. He addressed the unfairness of demanding from your own people what should have been asked of others.
Have you ever been called upon to do extra work because someone else didn’t do his or her job? Perhaps you’re over-involved in ministries at church because there are not enough other volunteers. Or maybe your kid is too lazy to take out the trash and you end up doing it yourself to prevent a stinky overflow.
How many unfair, extra demands do we have to deal with? A lot, sometimes every day, right? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us to go the extra mile and do what we shouldn’t have to do. He certainly practised what he preached when he paid the temple tax. Why should God have to pay for his own worship? But he did. Why? To avoid “offending” or “disedifying” those who demanded the tax.Read More »