Scripture: “When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, ‘Does you teacher not pay the tax?’ (Peter) said ‘Yes.’

 

And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to (Peter) first, saying, ‘What do you think, Simon?  From who do kings of the earth take toll or tax?  From their sons or from others?’  And when he said, ‘From others’, Jesus said to him, ‘Then the sons are free.”  Matt 17:24-26

 

Observation:  God sneaks in a principle every so often.  I must be prepared to notice it, savor it, and embrace it.  But…. being prepared to notice it is key.

 

Application:   Right after the end of the above reference is the fisherman’s dream: hauling out a fish and finding money in the fish’s mouth.  Not only just money but the equivalent of a day’s wages.

 

Do you throw back a fish like that hoping to catch it again someday?

 

What is the principle behind this scripture reference?

 

Taxes are imposed by kings—there is a payment due.  No payment?  Then consequences.  Pretty much simple as that.  There is a somewhat reasonable accommodation: the family of the king is exempted from paying taxes.

 

So, the common residents of the kingdom are levied taxes with built in consequences.  Those of the king’s family are special—they are forgiven taxes and the subsequent consequences. Common residences of the kingdom vs. children of the kingdom, even adopted children.

 

Sounds like what is experienced being born again.  I once had to pay the penalty (tax).  Jesus paid my penalty.  Faith in that initiated my adoption by the King—I don’t have to pay the penalty.

 

I think that this is hard to completely embrace in one setting.  Even Paul hammered on the subject of the believer’s freedom and adoption, etc. in his letters to various churches.  It is so easy to slide back to thinking “I would be better off before the King if I ‘paid a tax’; I would look better and gain favor by ‘paying taxes.’”  The hard fact is I put Jesus’ work on the cross off to the side and render it useless and impotent by trying to gain favor from God by doing stuff—paying my tax.

 

Christ died to set me free; paid my ‘tax’ so I wouldn’t have to.  If I considered this with any clarity of thought, I should fall to my face in wonder and fear.

 

Prayer:  Lord, how can I thank you enough for your love toward me?  The Cross is not about me (although I can benefit tremendously from it), it is about You; it is about all of Creation; it is about a new heaven and a new earth.  Help me be fervent, fiercely focused on the Gospel and how it applies to me.  AMEN.