In Capernaum, the tax collectors for the temple ask Peter, “Doesn’t your Teacher pay the double-drachma tax?” Peter doesn’t even hesitate, but responds, “Yes.”
In the house, Jesus speaks to Peter. He says, “What do you think? Do kings tax their own children or is the tax reserved for strangers?” Peter answers correctly, “The tax is for strangers. Kings don’t tax their own kids.”
“That’s right,” says Jesus. “Sons are free!”
Yet, Jesus also says, “Let’s not offend the temple tax collectors. You go down to the sea, cast a fishhook out into the water — no, it’s not going to have any bait on it — and the first fish you manage to catch, take it. Open its mouth, and find a coin. Take that coin and give it to the temple tax collectors for Me and for you.”
Despite being free from the rules, Jesus does not wish to offend those who follow the rules and expect Him to follow those same rules. “This is the least of My concerns, Peter. Yet, it’s not a problem for Me or even for you. We can take care of it without much effort. God provides the coin in a most unusual way — in the mouth of a fish. We don’t even need any bait to catch this fish. And so, the coin we gain is His anyway. Let’s just give it to the temple and be done with it.”
In this manner, Jesus accommodates man’s adherence to rules not meant for Him, the Lord of Life. Jesus is the Son of God. The temple, like the Sabbath, is made for Him; He is not made for the Sabbath or the temple.
“Then the sons are free,” Jesus tells us.
Thank You Lord we are set free. Let us not put a yoke of slavery over our backs again. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
*(paraphrase, Matthew 17:24-27, HCSB by Carley Evans)