WEEK NINETEEN – MONDAY – AUGUST 9, 2021 – PAYING THE TEMPLE TAX (MT 17:23-27)

Prayer:

O Jesus, you have made me a child of God and a citizen of heaven. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples, privately in a house. 

Context:

This is a unique little story, whose meaning can easily be lost. In Jesus’ time, Roman citizens paid no taxes. Rome was supported by non-citizens paying taxes. Jesus, as a Son of God, claims freedom from the taxes and extends that freedom even to his apostles. Because others do not yet understand this new freedom, Jesus has Peter pay the tax to avoid scandal. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

When they entered Capernaum, those who collected the temple tax came to Peter and said to him, “Does your Master pay the temple tax?” Peter replied, “Yes.”

When they got inside the house, without giving Peer time to speak, Jesus asked, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive taxes? From their own sons or from foreigners?” Peter replied, “From foreigners.” Jesus said, “Then the sons are free.” 

“However, so we do not scandalize them, go to the sea, throw in a hook and take out the first fish you catch. Open its mouth. Inside you will discover a coin worth twice the temple tax. Take it and give it to them for both you and me.” 

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. The story deals with Jesus being obedient to Jewish rules. 
  2. Christians are true Jews, true sons of Abraham. 
  3. However, they are not under Jewish laws (symbolized by the taxes). 
  4. Jesus has made them children of God. 
  5. They enjoy the “freedom of sons and daughters.” 
  6. To avoid scandal, Jesus and Peter will pay the tax. However, the Heavenly Father provides the coin. 

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  • O Jesus, you will lead me out from unnecessary burdens. 
  • Heavenly Father, I am your child, called to live with you forever. 
  • O Jesus, I am free. You have made me a child of God. 
  • O Lord, never let me scandalize anyone. Teach me to be sensitive to other’s beliefs. 
  • Father, you provide for all my needs. 

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.) 

+ I will ponder the great freedom I enjoy in Christ. 

+ I will never misuse that freedom. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

The sons are free. They need not pay the tax.