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Jun 16 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Forty-nine – Matthew 17:24-27 (part 2)

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?”
Matthew 17:24-25

Taxes! What a burden to place on people. Taxed for being alive. Taxed for your initiative, innovation and hard work. Taxes taken from your earnings and invested in institutions, programs and laws that you oppose. Taxed on every purchase. And a jumble of tax laws that few people can decipher. Taxes burden the mind and wear on the soul.

Peter was hit with a tax question. When he came to Jesus with it, before he had the opportunity to bring it up, the Lord already knew what he was going to ask. And Jesus already knew what he was going to do about the tax. But before he resolved the problem, he gave it to Peter by asking him a challenging question. Jesus let Peter struggle for a moment not only with the problem of paying the tax, but also with the justice of the tax itself. He let Peter feel the weight of it. Nevertheless, Jesus did not expect Peter to produce the tax money or to become an activist in working to abolish the tax. He merely invited Peter to join him in wrestling with the whole issue and looking for a solution to it, even though it would be Jesus alone who would resolve it.

And no one could have predicted where Jesus would locate the money to pay the tax!

There is a similar incident in John’s Gospel where Jesus asked Philip where they could buy bread to feed a crowd of thousands even though “He Himself knew what He was intending to do” (Jn. 6:6).

Oh Jesus, You know already what is going to hit us and how You are going to see us through it. You know all the challenges and hardship–yes, even the devastating blow that will come. To us, all of these things are unforeseen and therefore we do not know how to prepare ourselves for them. But You have seen them, anticipated them, and have begun to prepare us for them. In this we rest, that You already know what You are going to do.

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