The next miracle in our series is Catching A Fish With A Coin …This miracle is recorded for us in Matt 17:24-27
The “tribute” money being described in this miracle was a Roman tax that was levied to honor (or “give tribute”) to Caesar.
This miracle began when the tax collectors approached Peter and asked him if Christ paid tribute to Caesar. Peter responded in the affirmative. Christ then uses this event to teach an important spiritual lesson….” What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.”
The spiritual lesson from this miracle are two-fold:
- Recognition of Christ’s high position of authority… Christ is King of King and Lord of Lords. (1 Tim 6:15) He is actually King and Lord over the Caesar. Therefore, the tribute money that was collected should actually be given to Him and not Caesar.
- Recognition of the Christian as members of Christ’s royal family…Also, Peter (standing as representative of all Christians) was adopted into the family of Christ. (Gals 4:5) He was “a child of the King!” Therefore, Peter had the liberty to not pay this tribute money that actually belonged to Christ. Why?... because the tribute money was never owed by a child of the ruler, it was only levied against those who were not related to the ruler.
In spite of the fact that neither Christ, nor Peter, actually owed this tribute money, they paid it. Why? It was a matter of testimony. Christ explains this when He says “Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”
How often do we go “the second mile” to retain a good testimony in the eyes of those around us? In this example Christ emphasizes this truth by paying a tribute that He was not obligated to pay.
(Paul emphasized the same principle in 1 Cor 8:4-10. Here we find that we are allowed to eat meat sacrificed to idols (because an idol isn’t really a god). But we are to not take advantage of this liberty for the sake of those who are weak in the faith. They might misunderstand our eating of the meat and interpret the act as a vindication of idolatry.)
Are there any “liberties” we are exercising that could be misunderstood by those around us? Could this liberty be a stumbling block, ruining our testimony for Him? If so, let us prayerfully consider no longer exercising this liberty out of our love for Christ and others.
May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.
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