A Coin In A Fish Mouth

Matthew 17:24-27 READ

  1. What is the temple tax
  2. Ex 30:13-16 The temple tax was half a shekel. Its an offering to the Lord. Everyone 20 and above must pay. The rich don’t have to give more and the poor don’t have to give less. This was an atonement for yourselves. You take the money- and use it for the service of the tabernacle.
  3. three uses- Paying the Levites
  4. Numbers 18:21 “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.
  5. Repairing the house of God
  6. 2 Chronicles 24:5 Then he gathered the priests and the Levites, and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah, and gather from all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that you do it quickly.”
  7. Doing the work of the Ministry
  8. Neh 10:32-33 Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: 33 for the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy things, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God. However the Levites did not do it quickly. (Also  2 Kings 12:5–17)
  • What was Jesus teaching in this interaction?
  • That Kings require their subjects to pay taxes- not their sons What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?”
  • That Jesus, as the Son and the High Priest, was exempt from paying taxes- and his disciples, as sons were exempt as well. Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.”
  • That Jesus and Peter are both free- 27 take that and give it to them for Me and you.”
  • Because of the freedom of Jesus and his disciples- they are not required to pay the tax to support the temple-
  • Jesus is differentiating himself from the commoners and establishing his kingship
  • That there are strangers and sons– “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?”
  • The sons in this instance are those who receive Jesus as Lord and become ‘co heirs with Christ’ through their belief in Him
  • Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
  • That Those who reject him(Strangers)- are not free and are bound still by their rejection.
  • Jesus will oblige to pay the tax so as not to lead others into sin to believe that they don’t have to pay the tax.
  • Jesus had not yet been glorified, so his kingship and messiahship was not fully established at this point- so Jesus doesn’t want to argue the point at this point- He obliges to keep the peace.
  • Here’s what Jesus knows- anything given to the Temple is still worth it- there’s nothing to be lost from giving to God’s temple for worship- only stuff to gain.

Few themes I want to pull out of this interaction

  1. Giving because you want to, not because you have to- is powerful.
  2. God has always asked his people to give of their money for his earthly purposes-
  3. In the NT church we don’t require a tax to worship- we don’t. People attend this church for years and never give. Love to partake, but they don’t ever give a dime. Might even make heaven without giving a dime. I can’t discern their heart, but it’s just odd to never give
  4. I’m convinced that God wants me to start giving at 10 and give above that. And we do
  5. Here’s what is true- The standard of the NT is always higher than the OT.
  6. God says-  If you don’t want to give- you don’t have to because your giving isn’t what puts you in a right relationship with me- its your relationship with my son that puts you in a right relationship with me. Money is not the connection point to be in righteousness.
  7. Not the case in the  OT- Exodus 30:15 The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.
  8. We never find that language in the NT- Look at the NT- 2 Cor 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
  9. This is why we say it every week- don’t give- its not the beginning of the relationship. Its not where it starts. It starts with Jesus- but once you’re saved- you want to give- Buy meals 4 others
  10. Remember NT is higher standard than OT- OT- Don’t kill NT- Don’t hate OT No Adultery NT No lust. OT Sacrifice livestock NT Sacrifice your own body. 
  11. Don’t come at me with the tithe is for the OT- Predates law- don’t ever read the OT for nothing
  12. Jesus- in this scripture- is saying to Peter- we’re not required to pay this- not for the Temple because I am the Temple. Not for the money because I’m not required to pay
  13. But ‘to not offend” we’ll do it. It’s not a requirement because I don’t have to- but people are giving money to the Temple of God- we’ll give money to the temple of God
  14. God loves a heart that gives to him willingly and not out of obligation. So Jesus gives
  15. Ex 35:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.
  16. Isn’t this the same with our human relationships? Don’t we value willing generosity more than coerced demands based on what we think the other person should give us?
  17. None of your relationships are like this- you give willingly- Give to God willingly and abundantly.
  18. 10% Is a good start- but the NT is give all- We don’t stop at 10 because I love to give!
  19. Where you at in your giving? Does it feel obligatory or does it feel coerced and free?
  20. Do you give freely to the God that rescued you in adoration of what he has done?
  21. 1 Chronicles 29:17 I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You.
  22. Isaiah 32:8 But a generous man devises generous things, And by generosity he shall stand.

Here’s a truth-

  • How you use your freedom matters.
  • Whether it’s freedom in giving or anything else- how we live in our freedom in Christ matters.
  • There is much that we are ALLOWED to do that isn’t unbiblical it just may not be right.
  • Jesus Christ, through his atonement and our faith- has put us in a right relationship with God-
  • It’s a blessed thing- we are in his grace, living in his grace. We have been set free from the law of sin and death and are no longer bound by many OT practices- including the temple tax.
  • Here’s how people will use their freedom- their liberty in Christ- to sin. They’ll take the grace of God for a spin and use the grace of God as an excuse to take part in sin.
  • Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
  • Jude 4 says “turn the grace of God into lewdness”
  • We can’t hide behind forgiveness as a reason to live how we want to live.
  • Many years ago- knew this gal sleeping with married man- “I’m saved by my faith, he’s sinning”
  • Our freedom in Christ should call us to deeper commitment and deeper holiness for him- not taking advantage of his grace.
  • 1 Peter 2:16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
  • Bondservants- slaves- do what we’re told when we’re told to do it-
  • Because here’s the issue-
  • 1 Corinthians 8:9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.
  • That’s what happens when you don’t take care of your grace. You can entice other people to sin- Alcohol- Some people can have a drink and its not sin- some- drunkenness.
  • If you’re publicly displaying your grace- you can lead others to sin- Not your fault- but why?
  • Men and women exposing their bodies- You exposing your body isn’t sin in itself, but why would you want to be the reason someone fell into sin? Are you going to defend your freedom at the expense of someone falling into sexual immorality? Your etoh for drunkenness?
  • Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
  • Because that’s the issue right there- do we see our freedom as a means to satisfy our flesh, or through love serve one another. And if we’re serving someone, we care less about US
  • It’s like facebook- Sometimes you don’t have to rub it in everyones face what you got.
  • You already do this- I don’t ever see people posting about relations with their spouse.
  • Sometimes it produces envy and jealousy in others- not your fault- but be aware of it.  You are entitled to live your life and do what you do, but sometimes, it’s no body’s business what you’re doing, what you post and approve of can lead someone into sin and its real.
  • Why do I have to care about anyone else pastor? I’m American I can do what I want.
  • Romans 15:1-2 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
  • And this was the issue that Jesus was having with the temple tax- “so as not to offend” lead into sin- lets just do the right thing publicly- so that those who are bound will do so privately.
  • If Jesus can humble himself and do for the benefit of others, can you find it in your heart?
  • Romans 14:22-23 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
  • Again- I’ll drive this point home, its in what we wear, what we do, how we live, what we watch, how we spend our time and money. It’s thinking of how affects others because WE care.
  • It’s the likes you give on facebook for new relationships when you don’t know how the old one ended. No sir. Not doing that. I unfriend adulterers. Don’t approve unless you know.
  • We serve a God of the miraculous
  • There’s a sermon in the end of this interaction which I think is really great.
  • Jesus says to Peter, lets pay the tax- but the means by which he pays the tax is miraculous!
  • Think- that fish had to find the right denomination of coin to eat to pay for the tax for 2 people.
  • Peter, as a fisherman didn’t catch a whole net of fish and then go through them.
  • And to me, most importantly, Jesus doesn’t tell Peter to go and catch some fish, sell them, and then pay the tax with the proceeds-
  • There’s a few nuggets in there (I think this miracle is vastly underrated)
  • One- Jesus is God- Only God can make a fish swallow a coin and be found. Miracle
  • John 10:30 I and My Father are one.” John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Psalm 77:14 You are the God who does wonders;
  • From this story to the jewish readers and to us- we can know- Jesus is God in the flesh!
  • Two- God works in specifics not generalities- One fish out of all fishes.
  • Jer 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb Psalm 139:16, Your eyes saw my unformed substance Isaiah 49:1, The Lord Called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name, Gal 1:15 He who had set me apart before I was bornand who called me, Rom 8:29 Predestined and foreknew
  • If you are not walking with an awareness of God’s specific knowledge of you, your situation and sins- you are not walking with  the full awareness of your relationship with God-
  • God specifically knows you- he knows everything about you and what you are going through and his deliverance is specific and tangible.
  • If He can have Peter find one fish – he can surely find you in a sea of people
  • This should encourage you!
  • Three- When you walk in Obedience to God because of his grace- He always provides.
  • Phil 4:19 My God shall supply all your needs 2 cor 9:8 May have an abundance for every good work Matt 6:32 Your heavenly father knows that you need all these things
  • Psalm 34:10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
  • Its stupendous that Peter wasn’t called to go and find provision for himself through his own power and his own work- but that Jesus provided for Him in his obedience
  • Honestly- going and fishing and selling would have worked- but Jesus wanted to show up
  • Who are you trusting for your provision? What miracle are you waiting for?
  • The God of this universe will show up and do a miracle through your obedience
  • I don’t know what or how- but I know he will.

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