Paying the Temple Tax, Part II
Before starting where we left off from part one, I wanted to play this part in The Passion of the Christ movie that captures the point I was trying to make earlier, about belonging to a Kingdom not of this world.
Refresher from Part One:
Jesus will pay it, like all others will have to, even though He doesn’t have to, and will show Peter and the other disciples that He and they live under no other kingship than the Father’s (“My kingdom is not of this world.” Jn. 18:36).
Don’t you love that part?
Welcome back, and thanks for returning for just a few more words on Matthew’s gospel. The very last verse of the chapter is all I want to mention, because the Lord teaches us so much in just a few words. He teaches us how to respond with integrity instead of self-righteousness, with humility instead of pride, with detachment instead of the need to look good before others. And also, Jesus teaches us how to be free–in the truest sense of the word–that is, freedom not giving free reign to the flesh (Gal. 5:13) but living free from slavery to our ego!
“… but that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you (Mt. 17:27).”
That we may not offend them.
This is our Jesus, meek, humble, wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove (Mt. 10:16).
“Peter, let’s not give in to the devil’s game here. He likes to trick the unguarded heart into rebellion. He says we have the right not to do what they say. After all–I am God. The temple is my house. You are my brother and God is our Father. But don’t give in to that fox! Instead, let’s keep our integrity and act on the Truth. That means dying to the self ego, giving it up, and rise from the dead of Satan’s lies. From the appearance we’ll look like we’re giving in, defeated and put in our place, so to speak. The temple guard may think, ‘Ha! I’ve got him. He knows he better not give me any trouble. He’s just a foreigner like all the others!’
“But, you’ll see, Peter. You’ll really see one day that you’re really the victor when you say “no” to the urge to be right and defend yourself.”
II Corinthians 6:3 says, “We cause no one to stumble in anything, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry” (even more, read the rest of chapter 6!).
Dear kind soul who may have read all this, thank you.
I pray something in here could be helpful to you. Would you please let us know by posting your thoughts below? Scripture is so alive with the Holy Spirit Who is always waiting patiently to have an intimate conversation with our soul. Let us give Him the opportunity often!