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The Coin in the Fish’s Mouth

I. OBSERVATION

A. Passage Selected: Matt. 17:24-27

B. Progression Stated: Logical

Illustration in natural world that leads to understanding of supernatural. The logic of analogy.

C. Presentation Summarized:

1. Context

There are actually fish in the sea of Galilee which pick the fertilized eggs off the sea floor and hold them in their mouths until they hatch. Some use this to prove that this was not a miracle. But the response to that is how did Jesus know that that particular fish had a coin in its mouth, that Peter would catch the right one and how did he know its denomination or amount.

2. Content
a. Does He pay? 17:24

It seems that Jesus had not been at the Passover - perhaps up in Gentile territory. Therefore he wasn’t around to pay the tax. When the temple tax collectors ask if Jesus pays, Peter’s impulsive response is, “Yes, he does.”

b. Who should pay? 17:25-26

Royalty goes free. Sons are exempt. They don’t pay taxes. This is a political / kingdom illustration, but we are not talking about kings and taxes and politics. This is a religious issue - temple tax. Who pays the temple tax? All the citizens of Israel. Who goes free? The Son of God. After all the temple is God’s House.

Jesus didn’t have to pay the tax. What is the claim? His deity for one and that other believers are exempt too.

c. He does pay 17:27

Jesus pays the tax just to avoid offending, but He’s already made His point. This is yet another instance where we see that the old system is finished and Jesus disengaging from Israel.

II. INTERPRETATION

  • As son of the temple owner, he is exempt from the temple tax. And as such, so are the rest of God’s family. And you become part of the family by faith - believing in Jesus. OT saints believed in God and had to pay the tax. Now he is telling them that they don’t need to pay the temple tax anymore. The Temple is going down. He has taken the keys of the kingdom from the Jews and given them to the Disciples and the Gentiles.

    III. APPLICATIONS

  • What does Peter’s presumption do? It shows that Peter doesn’t believe that what Jesus is here to do could have any effect on the present system. Presumption can retard spiritual development and understanding. It keeps me from appropriating the progressive revelation of God.
  • Where is his presumption grounded? Fear of criticism, pride...
  • We should avoid offending others. Our purpose being to make them more receptive to the gospel.
  • Sometimes we need to avoid claiming our rights for the benefit of others.
  • Certain things belong to the government and certain things belong to God.
  • Related Topics: Miracles