Scripture Reflections:Matthew 17
22When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. 23They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life." And the disciples were filled with grief.
Lord Jesus--I never really thought about it before but these two incident really go together...your coming death and the temple tax are a part of the same puzzle...a part of the same rejection.
You were rejected by those you came to save. Was that the way it had to be? Not if I really believe in free will. The religious elite of your day had a much a choice as I do...and they rejected you.
But for the disciples large theological questions would have to wait. They were cycling through their grief and grieving takes energy and time. Step one in the greiving process is denial...that is the reason for the frequent reminders of what going to Jerusalem meant.
24After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"25"Yes, he does," he replied.When Peter 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 sons or from others?" 26"From others," Peter answered.
Lord Jesus--This was another teaching moment for Peter...showing him in another context that those who were in charge of temple worship did not accept your leadership. They did not accept your identity, they did not see you as a son but as someone who was "other."
"Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. 27"But so that we may not offend them, 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."
Remind me again Lord that you are the one who has all the dollars and cents worked out. You own the cattle on a thousand hills and all of the nickels, numbers and noses are available to you.
You are the one who knows where all the fish are and what is in their mouths. Teach me to trust that you are in control of what appear to be problems that crop up in my way. You are in control and know what needs to happen. Each incident can be a teaching moment even on the way to Jerusalem...there were lessons that needed to be learned and filed away. Continue your shaping process in my life Lord Jesus.