Good morning! It’s always the end of the year when we scramble to donate to a cause or causes to prepare for filing taxes and ensuring we have enough tax write offs at the end of the year so we don’t owe. It is an overall tax benefit, while doing good for others we are benefiting ourselves – clever idea. In Matthew we read about Peter’s encounter with the temple tax collector. Enjoy today’s reading and your day.
24 On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?” 25 “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house.
But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?” 26 “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied.
“Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! 27 However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.” – Matthew 17:24-27 NLT
It was a required by custom, that the people pay temple taxes (Exodus 30:13-15). In this case, the collectors have come to collect. However, Jesus makes this another learning lesson on our identity in Christ, our submission to authority and provision that Christ Jesus provides.
- Here Jesus reminds us that we are free, if we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven we have been set free.
- Yet, in our freedom and submission to God’s authority, we can submit to the ruling authority. (Refer to Roman’s 13:1-7)
- Finally, when we put our trust in the Lord, we already know He will do what is right. Remember, Peter knew Jesus’ character and said, “Yes, he does,” before he spoke to Jesus.
- In this way, the Lord already knows exactly what we need before we ask. While Peter had to work to pay the taxes, the Lord gave him clear instructions from beginning to end on where to go, what to do (using his gift and talent of fishing), what he will find (Jesus had proved himself several times on his instructions for fishing – so Peter trusted Jesus’ direction) and how Peter (because Jesus used him) will take care of not only what Jesus owes, but what he owes too. Jesus took away Peter’s debt then and He took care of Peter’s debt and our debt on the cross – a debt Jesus did not owe but willing paid because He loves us.
- The Lord provides us a way. Amen? Amen.
Father God, thank you for your provision. We praise you for all you have done and continue to do on our behalf. Lord, forgive us when we don’t put our trust in you. Lord, forgive us for the times when we sought our own way or the world’s way instead of Your way. Lord, teach us to trust you over and over again. There is no doubt that you are God over all. Lord, help us to submit our ways to your ways. Lord, continue to teach us your ways in small and simple steps of faith, and big faith. Train our ears to hear you when you speak to us. Lord, continue to convict our hearts to receive and believe your word and direction for our lives. Lord, help us to live in truth, with integrity of character and fully embrace the freedom that you have given to us. Lord, we pray for those in authority that you will break their hearts for what breaks yours. Lord, help them to see You and desire to make a difference in the world and the communities around us for the good. Lord, we (the whole world) need you. Be with us. Provide away for those who are struggling today financially, mentally, physically and spiritually. Lord, keep us and equip us to point others to you. In Jesus name, amen!
Keep praying! Keep seeking! Keep trusting!
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