Peter And The Temple Tax

Q. Re: Matt, 17:27. What was the relevance/meaning/symbol of finding money in the fish’s mouth? Other than Peter being a former fisherman, I don’t get it.

A. This incident begins in Matt. 17:22 and involves a discussion Peter had with officials of the temple over the requirement to pay an annual temple tax. Then when Peter came into the Lord’s presence, without any prompting, the Lord asked him about paying taxes, and after explaining why He should be exempt, instructed Peter to do the following;

“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours” (Matt. 17:27)

My guess is that Peter had never found any money in a fish’s mouth before, and certainly not the exact amount he needed to pay the temple tax for both him and the Lord in the first fish he caught. Top it off with the fact that the Lord told him in advance this would happen.

Obviously, the Lord could have found a much easier way to give Peter the money. So the relevance seems to be that this was a miracle designed to confirm to Peter that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” as Peter had proclaimed Him to be in Matt. 16:16.

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