Paying Tribute

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?”

There’s a lot more going on here that would appear on the surface.  You can count on it that whenever those who collected tax money were involved, it wasn’t going to be a happy moment. Capernaum means village of comfort. It was a favorite place for Jesus. This moment lead to some teaching from the Master that should  stay with us.

“Those who received tribute money” here were those who collected the temple-tribute which, according to Jewish custom, was collected at the end of the month of March. It wasn’t a lot, by our standards–just another small tax that became, with all the other small taxes, a heavy burden for the Jews. We don’t know why this tax collector addressed Peter.  Maybe Jesus was elsewhere at the moment.

Peter behaved in his usual impulsive manner, and answered “Yes!”

Keep in mind Peter’s recent confession, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!”  Keep in mind that he had just witnessed the incredible vision of the Transfiguration.  And yet, now, he agrees that Jesus, the Son of God, is just like everyone else and must pay a tax to use the temple that belonged to Him.


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