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Matthew 17:25  (King James Version)
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<< Matthew 17:24   Matthew 17:26 >>


Matthew 17:25

Peter appears concerned that Jesus would not be esteemed a good Jew if He did not pay the tax. Not wanting to bring dishonor and danger on Him, he acknowledges Jesus' liability to pay the taxes as if He were a mere son of Israel. His reply implies that Jesus had paid the tax and would continue to do as every devout Jew should.

When Peter enters the house, Jesus immediately asks him about taxation: "From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?" This demonstration of Christ's knowing what Peter had discussed elsewhere proves to the disciple that His divine omniscience is not limited by distance.

Peter answers the question with the only possible answer, "From strangers," and Jesus replies, "Then the sons are free." He refers to Peter and Himself as both sons of the Father, the Sovereign of the Temple, and therefore, free from the tax. However, rather than cause offense, Jesus arranges for the money to be found in a most miraculous way.

Technically, Peter errs about the legality of taxing the Son of God, but Jesus uses the principle of not needlessly offending a brother (Luke 17:1-2) to positively express His divinity and spiritual power: He performs a miracle. Christ is so considerate that He would rather pay any amount, however unjust or objectionable, than endanger God's work by unnecessarily provoking negative comments that would hurt its credibility, saying, "lest we offend them" (Matthew 17:27). His example should inspire us for when we feel slighted or taken advantage of (Romans 14:21-22).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: The Coin in the Fish's Mouth



Matthew 17:24-27

The miracle of the coin found in the fish's mouth (Matthew 17:24-27) may be among the least dramatic of Christ's miracles, but it is certainly instructive. The context involves the paying of the Temple tax, and not surprisingly, only Matthew, the former tax collector for Rome, reports it. Although he did not collect this particular tax, it still interested him. His account of Christ's life tends to highlight the King and His Kingdom. Why, then, should the King be subject to a tax? Is He not the Son of God, the Heir of all His Father's house?

Coming to Capernaum, the tax collector asks Simon Peter, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?" and Peter replies in the affirmative (verses 24-25). This tax was not a Roman civil tax but a religious one supporting the Temple in Jerusalem. God inaugurated this tax in the wilderness, instructing Moses to take a half shekel from every male twenty years and older (Exodus 30:11-16). It provided for the work of the Tabernacle and later of the Temple, including during the time of Christ. This tax was not an evil one per se, helping to cover legitimate costs of the worship of God, but as with almost all taxation, the money was often misused.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: The Coin in the Fish's Mouth



Matthew 17:24-27

The Temple tax was one-half shekel per year for every Jew over 20. Since Jesus Christ was Lord and Owner of the Temple, He and His "children" should have been free of taxation. Jesus orders Peter to pay it anyway for both of them to avoid a bitter and offensive debate on the merits of His claim. By doing this, Jesus sets the right example looking by faith beyond a legal technicality to the True Ruler, the Father. God likely brought this episode to pass for our instruction.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Five




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Matthew 17:25:

Matthew 17:24-27
Matthew 22:15-22
Romans 13:1-7
Romans 13:1-7

 

<< Matthew 17:24   Matthew 17:26 >>



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