May 18, 2023

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast 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 me and for yourself.”


Matthew 17:24-27


A number of years ago, my wife, Lauren, was working for a consulting firm. One of her clients was a synagogue which was conducting a large capital campaign. Each year, every member of the synagogue would meet with the rabbis and the finance team. At the meeting, members would bring their completed tax forms and, based on that information, determine what their annual giving to the synagogue would be. As a pastor, I had a very mixed reaction to this process (though I occasionally think our finance team might have a field day with it).


Jesus and Peter had been approached by religious tax collectors intending to collect a fee meant for the upkeep of the Temple. Every Jewish male was expected to pay this tax annually in addition to any other donations that they made to the Temple in fulfillment of the call to tithe and any other vows that had been made. Jesus’ response to whether or not they must pay this tax is that they were free not to do so, yet he also understood that they should pay it. This strategy connected to the reasons behind Jesus’ command to his disciples not to share what has become known as the Messianic Secret. Jesus wanted and needed to continue to work within the structures of Judaism at the time.

For Discussion

Is giving easier when it is a worshipful response to God or when you have determined amounts to give?


Is there a place in your life where you know that you should do something even if you do not have to do it?


Lord God, you call us to give of ourselves to you, not simply of our resources but of all that we are, yet we often focus on the material blessings that you have bestowed upon us. Help us to surrender our lives to you and to do so with gladness and singleness of heart. In Jesus’ name we pray; amen.

Rev. Scott Tucker
Pastor for Grand Adults