by Cheri Cowell @CheriCowell
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.” Matthew 17:25b-27 NIV
Did you play Go Fish when you were a child? My sister and I loved to play that card game when we visited our grandparents. I so enjoyed sending my sister “fishing.”
Now, we weren’t so much on real real fishing, mind you. Daddy had two girly girls and fishing was just too dirty for us. I remember watching Daddy clean the fish he caught, and when I saw how he used pliers to get the hook from the poor fish’s mouth—that was the end of fishing for me!
But if he’d found what Peter found when Jesus told him to Go Fish, I’d have instantly become a tomboy.
The drachma was a coin used to pay the two-coin tax levied on all Jews for the upkeep of the Temple. Roman taxes normally listed specific people who were exceptions and not required to pay. For example, often conquerors subjected conquered peoples, not their own subjects, to taxation. Likewise, priests were exempt from the two-drachma tax cited here. Most significant for this story, dependents of a king were naturally exempt from his taxes.
And with those exceptions in mind, Jesus was making a point to Peter. It was a point Peter would not understand until after Jesus’ death—the King of the Temple, in whose name these taxes are collected, is my Father. It is inappropriate that I should be taxed in His house. And as a son of God, Peter should not be taxed either.
Then Jesus miraculously supplied the tax required by the Jewish leadership. Peter was to cast out a fishing line for a special catch waiting for him. Matthew does not finish the story, but we presume when Peter did what Jesus told him to do, he found a coin that covered both his and Jesus’ tax requirements.
What do you need to believe Jesus for today? Do you believe that Jesus is the King of all things in heaven and on Earth? Just as He provided the tax in the mouth of a fish for Peter, He can and will supply your needs. He knows your needs, but the question is, do you trust Him?
About the author: Cheri Cowell is the author of 365 Devotions for Peace (Thomas Nelson). She can be found at www.CheriCowell.com.
Inspired by best-selling author Janette Oke and the Hallmark Channel original TV series When Calls the Heart, Brian Bird and Michelle Cox explore the love-filled moments from the fictional early 1900s town of Hope Valley. Stories of romantic love, as well as love between families, neighbors, and friends, will touch your heart and encourage your soul to recognize the potential of love in your life.
Join the conversation: What needs are you trusting God for today?