Summary: We must do what we are commanded to do even though we are not able to do it. God will do through us and begin only what only God can do.
A. INTRODUCTION: THE DILEMMA
“On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, ‘Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?’ ‘Yes, he does,’ Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?’ ‘They tax the people they have conquered,’ Peter replied. ‘Well, then,’ Jesus said, ‘the citizens are free! However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us’” (Matt. 17:24-27, NLT).
1. The Jews were looking for ways to trip up Jesus. “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” (v. 24).
a. A negative question.
b. Afraid to ask Jesus, so they asked Peter.
2. Peter knew Jesus was blameless. “Yes, He does” (v. 24). Jesus wanted to be a good Jew. “Pay the tax for both of us” (v. 27). “We don’t want to offend” (v. 26).
B. THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE OF JESUS
1. On some occasions Jesus was not aware. “Who touched My robe?” (Mark 5:30, NLT).
2. Jesus knew the tax collector had asked Peter. “Before he (Peter) had a chance to speak, Jesus answered . . .” (v. 25).
3. Jesus knew/guided the first fish.
a. Would have the coin.
b. Would be caught on a hook.
c. Usually used a net, so Jesus wanted to focus on one fish.
d. Not created (Gen. 2:1-2).
e. Guided the coin into the fish’s mouth.
f. Kept the coin in the fish’s mouth.
C. THE PARABLE/APPLICATION
1. Asked Peter’s opinion before telling the parable. “What do you think Peter?” (v. 25).
2. The dilemma. “Do kings tax their own sons, or strangers?” (v. 25, NKJV).
a. Since the temple belongs to the heavenly Father, all the money given to it belongs to Him.
b. Since Jesus is the Son of the Father, He is not obligated to pay.
c. Why not tell this to the tax collector and not Peter? Jesus did not offend/break tax law, but wanted to be blameless.
d. In what ways should we follow Jesus’ example and live blamelessly? ___________________________.
e. Peter is taught. “Then the sons are free?” (v. 26).
D. LEARN THE LAW OF THE DIVISION OF LABOR
We must do what we are commanded to do even though we are not able to do it. God will do through us and begin only what only God can do.
1. The greatest compliment given a person is asking them to do the impossible, but having the confidence they can get the job done.
a. Go fish for only one fish with a hook.
b. Get the fish with the coin in its mouth.
c. It is enough to pay for both Jesus and Peter.
1. Don’t offend when there is an obligation to do right.
2. Carefully answer those looking for an occasion to criticize you.
3. There is a principle behind doing right. You find it when obeying what you must do.
4. The Father continues to make allowances for His children.
5. The power of God works through small things like a hook.
6. God who knew the future, began preparing for this answer long before the tax collector came seeking to trip up Jesus.
7. God looks after those who serve Him, i.e., the coin paid for Peter’s tax also.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
All PBC lessons are available online at trbc.org/pbc. Go to www.Hopenow.tv for the current program schedule.
Dr. Towns' email is ELTowns@liberty.edu
Dr. Towns’ web address is www.elmertowns.com