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Matthew 17:24-27 meaning...

This passage recounts an incident where those who collected the temple tax approached Peter, questioning whether Jesus paid the required didrachma. Jesus uses this opportunity to teach a valuable lesson about freedom from the temple tax and the miraculous provision of the required payment. 

  • The Temple Tax Question

As Jesus and his disciples arrive in Capernaum, those responsible for collecting the didrachma, a temple tax, approach Peter with a question about whether Jesus pays this tax. It's important to note that this tax was an annual contribution for the upkeep of the temple.

Peter's Affirmation: Peter responds affirmatively to the question, indicating that Jesus indeed pays the temple tax.

  • Jesus' Teachable Moment

Jesus, perceiving the situation, initiates a teachable moment with Peter:

Kings and Their Subjects: Jesus raises a rhetorical question, asking Peter about the practice of kings collecting toll or tribute. The answer lies in the fact that kings typically collect from strangers rather than their own children.

Exemption of the Children: Jesus draws a parallel, asserting that the children (referring to himself and his disciples) are exempt from the temple tax. This claim emphasizes a unique relationship with the temple, implying a sense of ownership and familial connection.

  • Miraculous Provision and Obedience

To demonstrate both divine provision and the importance of obedience, Jesus provides specific instructions to Peter:

Fishing Miracle: Jesus instructs Peter to go to the sea, cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. This seemingly mundane task is accompanied by a miraculous provision—a stater coin will be found in the mouth of the fish.

Payment for Jesus and Peter: Jesus instructs Peter to use the coin found in the fish's mouth to pay the temple tax for both of them, underscoring the divine intervention in meeting their financial obligation.

Relevance for Believers Today

While the temple tax context is specific to the biblical narrative, there are broader principles and lessons for believers today:

Divine Provision: The passage underscores the concept of divine provision, highlighting that God can provide in unexpected and miraculous ways. Believers are encouraged to trust in God's provision even when facing financial or material challenges.

Understanding Freedom: The idea of exemption from the temple tax serves as a metaphor for the freedom believers have in Christ. It emphasizes a unique relationship with God that goes beyond ritualistic obligations.

Obedience in Specific Instructions: Jesus' specific instructions to Peter demonstrate the importance of obedience, even in seemingly ordinary tasks. Believers are reminded that obedience to God's guidance can lead to extraordinary outcomes.


Philippians 4:19: "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." This verse echoes the theme of divine provision for the needs of believers.

Matthew 6:33: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Jesus teaches about prioritizing the kingdom of God, emphasizing divine provision.

Conclusion: Matthew 17:24-27 captures a unique episode in Jesus' ministry, combining a practical lesson about the temple tax with a demonstration of divine provision. The passage encourages us to trust in God's provision, understand our freedom in Christ, and prioritize obedience to specific instructions from God. As contemporary readers engage with this passage, it prompts reflection on the nature of God's provision and the call to obedience in various aspects of life.

Matthew 17:24-27. When they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the didrachma coins came to Peter, and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the didrachma?” He said, “Yes.” When he came into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive toll or tribute? From their children, or from strangers?” Peter said to him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Therefore the children are exempt. But, lest we cause them to stumble, go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you have opened its mouth, you will find a stater coin. Take that, and give it to them for me and you.”


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