This one is a day late – apparently, the schedule got away from me but I figured better late than never!
Hubby got a chance to preach at 2nd Baptist this past Sunday. It was a treat to get to hear him preach again! But I learned something new from a passage I’ve read numerous times. Hubby’s text was Matthew 17:24-27. In this particular passage, Jesus and all of the disciples are in Capernaum. Peter is approached by those who collect the temple tax. They want to know if Jesus pays his temple tax. His immediate answer is yes but Peter asks Jesus about it later. Jesus has a conversation with Peter in which he makes about being the son of God and should he really have to pay the tax to maintain God’s temple . . . but that wasn’t the “new thing”. Jesus gives Peter an instruction in verse 27 – “However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and me.”
The temple tax was established in Leviticus. Those men 20 years of age and up were to pay a half shekel to the temple. Jesus and all 12 of his disciples were in Capernaum. Jesus tells Peter how he will get a shekel to pay the temple tax for Peter and Jesus. Only Peter and Jesus. The implication of this act is that the other 11 disciples are not yet 20. Somehow, in all my years growing up in the church and the Bible courses I took in college, I missed this. During Jesus’ 3 years of active ministry, he was surrounded by 12 young men. Possibly even teenagers.
Here’s the “take away”. If Jesus entrusted the establishing of the early church to men not yet – or barely – old enough to pay the temple tax, we can certainly trust teenagers to make good choices and impact their world in positive ways. I’ve always been a big advocate of seeing the best in young people and setting high expectations for them. And it would seem I have the best of all role models in doing so. Just didn’t realize it till now.