When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes,” he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?” When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”Matthew 17:24-27
Fishing for Coins
The Greek word used for “subjects” is literally “sons” (from huios). Consistent with his declaration that “something greater than the temple is here” (Matthew 12:6) and that his own body is the temple of God (John 2:20-21), Jesus, the Son of God, and his disciples (adopted sons of the Father) are tax exempt.
Yet even a King’s Son needs to pick his battles, and the temple tax was not one of them. Peter the fisherman was sent to hook an Attic silver coin (statér) from the mouth of a fish in the Father’s abundant sea.
How does a King’s Son pay the temple tax?
With a coin from a fish! Shalom, relax!