Fishing For Drachmas

Q. Re: Matt 17:24-27. What is Jesus saying when he implies to Peter that foreigners must pay the tax and that the subjects are exempt? Does this have to do with being exempt from paying the penalty of sin or is there more to it, such as gov’t taxing schemes?

A. My translation reads a little differently. In Matt. 17:24-27 the tax collectors had asked Peter if his teacher was going to pay the Temple tax. When Peter went to ask Jesus about this he got a question instead of an answer.

“From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes–from their own sons or from others?” When Peter answered, “From others,” Jesus said.”Then the sons are exempt.”

The Lord’s point didn’t have anything to do with either sin or taxes. It was that since the Temple was part of His Father’s Kingdom then Jesus, as His Son, was exempt from the tax.

But to avoid causing trouble with the officials, He had Peter go fishing. He told Peter that the first fish he caught would have a coin in its mouth sufficient to pay the tax for both of them.

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