Jesus teaches His disciples to honor governing officials by paying their taxes, "Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you" (Mt. 17:27).
Peter was probably a fairly successful fisherman before Jesus called him to leave his nets, follow Him and fish for men; yet here Jesus instructs Peter to throw out his fishing line, this time for tax purposes. Taxes are due and demanded by the tax collectors. Jesus uses fishing to teach Peter about His sovereignty over nature, His provision for His followers, and faith-so He sends Peter fishing. Talk about a fixed fishing trip! The first catch of the day will be a big-mouth bass!
Historians say that one half-drachma would take care of a three-member family for a day. A skilled laborer made about a drachma for a day's labor, while an unskilled laborer made one half-drachma a day. This fish has a lot of dough in its mouth. Talk about a front-loaded investment!
Where did the fish find and swallow a four-drachma coin? Maybe a tax collector with a pocket full of coins fell into the water earlier in the day; who knows? Jesus knows, and at some point He has commanded the fish to swallow a large stash and hang on to it in a certain area until He has need of it. It is amazing that the fish has enough room in its coin-filled mouth to actually swallow a hook.
This is not the first time that God commands an animal to take care of a need. Remember the ravens who were entrusted with feeding Elijah? Remember the donkey who addressed a false prophet?
This scene reveals a number of truths about taxes, work, and God's provision:
Struggling with a financial obligation? You've got a King who knows your name, your needs, and has commanded your supply. So, if He tells you to go fishing today you'd better go fishing!
Describe the manifestation of the demons possessing the child? What does this reveal about demons? About their prey? About deliverance?
All three synoptic gospels record the disciple's selfish desire to use their relationship with Jesus to obtain personal greatness. What does Jesus teach them about true greatness? How do people use the Gospel today to obtain personal greatness?
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