The Word's Christian Fellowship, Inc.
#134 But What Does God Think?                                                                      February 5, 2017

        Matthew 17:24  And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to
          Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

On this occasion, when the Lord Jesus Christ and those traveling with him arrived in Capernaum, Peter was confronted by tribute or tax collectors who wanted to know if the Lord Jesus Christ paid tribute, meaning tax. 

        25  He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him [or “spoke to him first”], saying, What
        thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

Peter responded to the tax collectors’ question about the Lord Jesus Christ by saying “Yes,” that he paid tax.  In doing that we ought to recognize that Peter took it upon himself to respond to the tax collectors in a matter concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and not himself personally.  Perhaps what he should have done was to excuse himself and go and ask the Lord Jesus Christ what to do.  Perhaps what he should have done was to refer them to the Lord Jesus Christ to have their tax question about him answered. 

Apparently though, Jesus Christ knew about the confrontation and asked Peter the question recorded in verse 25.  Then the conversation continued in verse 26.

        26  Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
        27  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the
        fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that
        take, and give unto them for me and thee.

It is clear by what the Lord Jesus Christ said in verse 26 that he knew perfectly well that he did not owe any tax.  He was “free.”

To one degree or another, we all live our lives based on what we think or society or those around us think.  Not so the Lord Jesus Christ!  He lived by a standard that he explained in John chapter 8.

        John 8:29  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those
        things that please him.

And so in this situation regarding a tax, the Lord Jesus Christ did what his Father wanted him to do, what would please Him.  In order to know what his Father wanted him to do, the Lord Jesus Christ would have had to ask Him and receive the answer by his operation of the revelation manifestations, which he quite obviously did. 

Peter didn’t ask Jesus Christ what he wanted him to do when the tax men came calling - but obviously the Lord Jesus Christ did ask his Father, the Lord God Almighty, how He wanted him to handle the situation. 

Surprisingly, at least to me, his Father wanted him to pay a tax that he was “free” from, and his Father wanted him to pay the tax by the miracle with the fish.  That’s what God his Father thought should be done and that’s what the Lord Jesus Christ did. 

Isn’t it wonderful that God included this incident from the life of His Son during his earthly ministry in the Gospel records?  The lifestyle of the Lord Jesus Christ that he lived in the world during his earthly ministry in such wonderful fellowship with his Father, always and in every situation pleasing Him, is so breathtaking, isn’t it? 

The tax question that ultimately resulted in the miracle of the fish wasn’t that difficult on the surface.  Peter thought he knew how to handle it.  Perhaps any of us would have thought the same. 

But the Lord Jesus Christ thought to please God and because he did we can read God’s Word here and learn more about our loving Heavenly Father and our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.

                                          © Stephen A. Harrison  The Word’s Christian Fellowship, Inc.  4415 Yank Road  Wilson, NC27893