And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, 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. 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.Matthew 17:24-27
if you are like me, you either hate paying taxes or think they are way too high. You are also probably aware that some of them are unreasonable and probably immoral. The tribute in this scene is one that Jesus pays but we can see from this brief conversation with Peter that it is not a just tax.
The tribute was being levied by Jews on their fellow Jews without any scriptural authority. Further, it seems to not be focused on a pressing need for the Temple, Jerusalem, or the duties of the priesthood. Jesus shows that the children of the king should be free. By levying a tax on fellow Jews, the leaders are placing themselves above others as though they had conquered them.
This is a bad tax..
NOTWITHSTANDING,Jesus tells Peter to pay it anyway. This is another example where the progress of the kingdom of God is more important than personal discomfort or injustice in a situation. This small tax, if objected to at this point, would bring unwanted attention and deeper scrutiny on the ministry of Jesus.
I think this is similar to the many times Jesus has helped people or told them things about Himself but He tells them to keep it secret. The work that Jesus came to do was not political. Political disputes and disruptions would not support His objectives at this stage.
We need to consider the things that happen to us as Christians in the same way. Things may come upon us that we do not like or may actually be wrong, but do we need to fight back every time? This lesson answers that question with, “no.” We should consider first how our actions reflect on Christ and His kingdom. If we can continue to worship freely, we may need to just take the blow for the sake of the kingdom.
There may be times when we must stand against ungodly authority but that is not all the time and in every case. After all, if the Apostle Paul had fought against His imprisonment, he would not have been able to preach to many people and the spread of the gospel would have been much slower.
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;Philippians 1:12-13