“Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you” (Matthew 17:27).

Peter’s assumption that Jesus will automatically pay the modest temple tax is disputed by Jesus; nevertheless, Jesus waives His entitled exemption. It appears, though, that the poverty of Christ was such that He did not have the two drachmas (about two days’ wages) to pay for it. In His ordinary expenses, Jesus lived upon the giving of others, and in extraordinary ones, He lives upon miracles. He did not order Judas to pay this out of the common purse that was intended for the benefit of the whole group; that was for subsistence, and He would not ask for that. We note the power of Christ in getting money out of a fish’s mouth for this purpose. Whether His omnipotence put it there or His omniscience knew it was there, it comes out the same as an evidence of His divinity and that He is Lord of hosts.

Even the fish of the sea are under His dominion and command. Observe that Peter must catch the fish by angling. Even in miracles, Christ used means to encourage our endeavors and to make us ever ready to work for Him. Peter has something to do, and perhaps it came as a lesson to him as well. In this obedience, we find that keeping Christ’s command brings its own pay along with it. There is always great reward in keeping God’s commands. In this case, there was just enough money to pay the tax for Christ and Peter. So, Christ teaches us to not covet extravagances but, having enough for our present situation, to be content and never distrust God. Let us always make God’s providence our storehouse and treasury.

Adapted from In His Presence