“After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple 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 children or from others?” 26 “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. 27 “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.” Matthew 17.24-27
The miracle of the coin in the mouth of a fish is a unique one. No one is healed in this miracle. No one is made to see, to hear or released from demons. The miracle of the coin in the mouth of the fish is one of necessity and authority.
As one Harvard divinity professor points out, “This miracle seems to them to be more arbitrary and less related to the broader purposes of the kingdom of God. It seems to be much less helpful, or perhaps even selfish—it just conveniently supplied Jesus and Peter with money, which could less conveniently have been supplied from the common purse (John 12:6). [for more read https://faculty.wts.edu/posts/the-coin-in-the-fishs-mouth].
But the point of finding the coin in the mouth of the fish is much larger than just covering the cost of the tax for Jesus and Peter, it speaks to God’s provision for his children. Jesus and Peter, and all who follow God, are sons and daughters of the King. And whereas the children of kings do not pay taxes, than neither should Jesus.
Jesus did not want to offed the Jewish religious authority who was asking for the temple tax and he says as much. And then it’s Jesus who sends Peter, the fisherman, to the lake to perform an extraordinary miracle — “Throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open it’s mouth and you will find a four drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
Can you imagine the crowd Peter took with him to the lake that afternoon? As Jesus remained teaching, ministering and caring for the people, Peter and a band of only God knows how many followers, went to put Jesus to the test.
We don’t have the results of the fishing expedition but you can believe the coin was found right where Jesus said it would be. With it Peter was able to pay his taxes and witness the provision of God first hand.
How do we see God’s provision in our own lives? If we look at Scripture, God provided for his people time and time again. He provided for Israel by sending them the shepherd boy David. He provided for them again by sending prophets, judges, kings and teachers. But most of all, he provided for us by sending Jesus who is the Savior of the world. Through him we find salvation, forgiveness, strength and a future.
Are you trusting in God to meet all your needs according to his glory and by his grace? Why not turn to him, put your hope in Jesus, and place your love in the one who first loved us?
“O Lord God, you are good. You provide for your people by growing your kingdom. You are winning souls even now in the most anti-Christian countries. You are bringing revival to your churches all over the globe. Even in the midst of global pandemics, your Spirit is racing to offer grace to the least, the last and the lost. Come now, Holy Spirit, and fill me with your presence. Help me know the truth of your word and the will of your work. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen