Summary: There was a lot for Peter and for us to learn from the fish with a coin in its mouth!
A. You’ve probably heard the phrase “That Sounds Fishy,” haven’t you?
1. I got to wondering where that phrase came from and I wondered if it came from the outrageous fish stories that fisherman like to tell.
2. So, I did a little research and discovered that it actually originated from the expression, “smells fishy,” which refers to something questionable or suspicious.
3. Fresh fish has very little odor, but the older fish gets then the stronger the odor it has.
4. That’s why it is advisable to smell the fish before buying it.
5. If it “smells fishy,” then it is older than advertised.
6. Anything that “smells fishy” ought to be avoided.
7. Thus, the phrase, “sounds fishy,” though this doesn't really make sense given the origin, is another way of saying that something is questionable, or that you sense something is wrong with it.
B. And so what about fisherman and their fish stories.
1. We have all heard fisherman tell stories about how big the fish was that they caught or how big the fish was that got away, and we wonder how close to the truth it was.
2. Well, in our story today from the life of Peter, we will see that Peter had a fish story to tell that many people would find unbelievable.
3. If the story wasn’t found in the Bible, then we might say that sounds fishy!
a. But we know that the Bible is true and so this story must also be true since it is in the Bible.
4. Because the story is a short one, we will read the entire story, and then talk about what it means and how it applies to us.
I. The Story
A. Our story for today is found in Matthew 17:24-27.
1. The Bible says: 24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”
2. Well, one thing we can say about this story is: “Life with Jesus was never boring!”
a. A lot of unusual things happened around Jesus, and this is certainly one of them!
3. One of the unique things about this story, is that Matthew’s Gospel is the only Gospel that includes this story.
a. I wonder if Matthew included it because he was a former tax collector, and he liked stories about tax collectors.
4. Another thing that is unique about the story is that it so personally involves Peter, which is why we are examining the story in our series on the life of Peter.
a. Last week’s story involved Peter, James and John, but this one seems so focused on Peter.
b. Certainly, this miracle was going to leave a lasting impression on Peter.
5. Let me mention one other thing that is unusual about this story, and that is that we are not told the outcome.
a. With most of the miracles of Jesus, we witness them happening, and if not, then we are told about the resolution.
b. For instance, in John 4, we are told about an official who came to Jesus because his son was sick to the point of death, and he asked Jesus to come and heal his son before he died.
1. Instead of going with the man, Jesus told the man to go home and he would find his son had been healed.
2. The story didn’t stop there, but we are told that the man returned to his home and found that his son was indeed healed, and when he inquired about when his son’s condition began to improve, it was the exact time when Jesus had declared, “Your son will live.”
c. But in our story for today, we hear the instructions that Jesus gave to Peter, but we are not told that Peter carried them out.
1. We are left to assume that Peter did what Jesus told him and caught the one fish that had a coin in its mouth and paid their taxes with it.
B. Let’s continue to dissect this story so we can understand what it means in general and what it means for us.