Mt17 22-27 – The Temple Tax & Social Conventions

Matt. 17:22-27 – The Temple Tax & Social Conventions

This section begins with a second prediction of Jesus’ death and resurrection, all of which understandably depresses the disciples. With that as the backdrop Matthew moves on to an interesting encounter between Peter and the tax gatherers. These are not the tax-collectors for the Romans but for the support of the temple. Basically when questioned Peter tells them that Jesus pays the temple tax, which may be true, but obviously hadn’t been done that year (term). Jesus then, without prompting, asked Peter about the policy of whom taxes are levied. Part of the question seems to be directed toward how the Romans levi taxes on the ocuppied people but not against their own citizens (which may or may not conflict with the policy of how the temple tax was collected). But the point is that, as the Son of the Creator, as the one “greater than the temple,” Jesus was exempt from the tax. But, Jesus chooses to go with the social convention “so as not to offend.” Is this an example of humility or not putting ones station in life over ones mission. There would certainly be times when Jesus would “come against” the misguided social conventions but this was not one of them. Another interesting part of the story is that a miraculous way is found to cover the social convention. In a sense, God found a way to pay the tax. I’m encourage by that in that even though the matter was trivial in a “mission” sense, there seemed to be divine intervention nonetheless. JBB 1/12/2005

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