Temple Tax; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked in with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.

We arrived back to Capernaum a couple of days later. Peter and I were walking through the streets when the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”

All adult Jewish males were required to pay this yearly tax according to the Law ( Ex 30:11–16). It was a real money maker. So much so that the temple authorities were using the money to construct a vine made of gold in addition to temple upkeep.

A few groups of Jews refused to pay it. Some arguing that once a lifetime was enough. It was now a political issue.

“Yes, he does,” he replied. They left, and Peter looked at me a little puzzled.

We came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?

We looked at each other, shocked. How did he know what we were talking about in the city?

“From others,” Peter answered.

Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.

I watched him go back out with his handline. Something Jesus said was puzzling to me. Was he saying he was technically exempt since he was the son of a king?

Matthew 17:24-27

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