Summary: Paying the Bill (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Matthew chapter 17 verses 24-27.
• If you had lived 2,000 years ago, and if you encountered Jesus:
• Either as a baby, boy or man,
• There would have been nothing to mark him out as being different,
• From the other Jewish babies, boys or men of his day.
• Many of our Christmas cards or great works of art;
• May picture Jesus with a hallow around his head, or as someone quite distinct,
• But in truth he would have looked exactly the same,
• As any other Jewish baby, boy or man from that region of Galilee.
When Jesus reached manhood:
• Even his cousin John the Baptist (John chapter 1 verses 33-34)
• Failed to recognise him without God sending “the Spirit like a dove to land on him”.
There was nothing that would have marked Jesus out as being a King:
• But that is of course who he was and is,
• "King of Kings & Lord of Lords".
Throughout the various gospels, again and again, Jesus is referred to as a king:
• Before his birth Luke chapter 1 verse 32-33:
• The angel told Mary the mother of Jesus:
"He will be great and called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the THRONE of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
HIS KINGDOM will never end".
(B). Matthew chapter 2 verse 2:
• The Magi / wise men come looking for a baby,
• "Born to be KING of the Jews".
3 wise women instead of men,
• They would have asked for directions,
• Arrived in time,
• Help to deliver the baby,
• Cleaned the stable,
• Made a casserole,
• And brought practical gifts!
(C). Matthew chapter 4 verse 23:
"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,
preaching the good news of the KINGDOM, and healing every
disease and sickness among the people."
• Jesus speaks again and again about; "The Kingdom of heaven".
• If you have a kingdom; then you need a king!
(c). Matthew chapter 21 verse 5:
• The triumphant entry, he records the prophecy,
• "Your KING is coming to you riding on a donkey".
(d). Matthew chapter 27 verse 11:
"Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him,
"Are you the king of the Jews?"
"Yes, it is as you say," replied Jesus".
(e). Matthew chapter 27 verse 37:
• On the cross a sign was nailed: "This is Jesus, the KING of the Jews".
• It was written in the three main languages of the day; Aramaic, Latin & Greek.
• King of the Jews,
• But also a king for all people everywhere!
Now in the verses before us this morning,
• We have a great paradox:
• A King so poverty-stricken,
• That he has no money to pay the annual temple tax of only a half-shekel!
(A). This miracle is unique for a number of reasons:
(1). It is recorded only by Matthew.
• Remember Matthew was a former tax collector,
• So he had a natural link with the events of this miracle.
• Matthew’s gospel is also called the Gospel of the King,
• And one of the dominant themes that runs through his gospel is the kingship of Jesus .
• And this miracle was recorded,
• I believe because it again affirms the kingship of Jesus Christ.
• Matthew tells us that the wise men came looking for a king,
• For weeks and months and even years they had been looking forward to seeing him.
• When they entered the stable they found a refugee family,
• And a baby in a feeding trough.
• The stable had cobwebs for curtains,
• And the heating system came from the animals who also lived there.
I am convinced that what they saw was not what they expected in their thoughts:
• Here was the king, but not as they had expected,
• They were not disappointed because we are told; “They worshipped him”.
Matthew presents Jesus to us as the king:
• He is not what they expected,
• But he will not disappoint you!
• Outside: Darling, you are the answer to my prayers,
• Inside: You are not what I prayed for, but apparently you are the answer!
Jesus is the answer to the prayers of his people:
• He might not fit our ideals, the ideals of the Jews (political deliverer)
• But he perfectly fits God’s ideal! (Saviour – deliver his people from…..sins)
(a). Jesus asked Peter a question (In Verses 25b-26):
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?”