Offence and freedom

We come to the end of this very short passage, which is very unusual and only found in this gospel. Interestingly if the ex-taxman wrote this gospel then perhaps this is why he included it. There is no evidence that Peter actually went and did this miracle so maybe the point is not the supernatural foreknowledge and provision but what the message behind it was.

This temple tax was supporting the atoning sacrifices and the collectors were trying to catch Jesus out. Peter probably fell into assumption and Jesus clearly states that there is no need for the Son of the Father of the house (temple) to pay the tax nor his disciples pointing to his ultimate atoning sacrifice which pays the price.

“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.” (Matthew 17 v 27)

The response of Jesus was to make sure that the unenlightened ones don’t stumble, something that the Apostle Paul would pick up on many occasions regarding pagan food and wine so that the gospel message is lost.

Just because we don’t have to doesn’t mean we don’t.

Jesus has given us freedom through his atoning sacrificial work on the cross but this doesn’t mean we are now focused on getting what we want or not doing what we should.

Freedom is meeting the needs of others.

Freedom is from self-centredness, only Jesus could do that for us.

Freedom enables us to sacrifice for the good of others.

Be kind.

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