Jesus paid the Temple Tax for us
Matthew 17:27 -
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
Tribute or capitation-tax was an annual tax of half a shekel charged to every Jew as a ransom for his soul so that there be no plague among them. It was a fix tax that was charged across all classes. Even if the person was rich or poor they had to play the same amount towards the service of the temple.
In 1500s Pope Leo X's sold indulgences which were pardons from going to purgatory in exchange for large amounts of donation for building the St Peter's Basilica. This venture of the Pope caused the Protestant Reformation to start with a letter written by Martin Luther on 31st October which is even today Believers celebrated this day as Reformation Day or Reformation Sunday (since it is celebrated on a Sunday on 31st Oct or before if it is not a Sunday). On the other hand the Catholic Church celebrates the giving of these indulgences as All Souls Day on Sunday on or before November 1st.
Was the Pope doing what the Lord instructed in the book of Moses (Exodus 30:12-15)?
Firstly Purgatory is unbiblical and not a part of Christian teaching but part of Catholicism. The Bible states the various stages the soul (with the spirit) of man goes through as Earth (not planet earth but physical creation when the soul and spirit is in the body), Hell (if it does not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ), Grave (those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ sleep here until His second coming), Heaven (after those in grave and those still alive on earth at that time are judged and found to be keeping the Word of God) and Lake of Fire (all those still in Hell and those in Grave who were judged and found not to be keeping the Lord's Word are put here, a place worse than Hell).
Coming back to today's message we see that Jesus got angry with Peter when Peter confessed to a person collecting Temple Tax that his Master did not pay the tax. As Peter entered the house Jesus questioned him on this matter.
Was Jesus going against God's commandment given to Moses by not paying the tax? Jesus we see askes Peter 'if the Kings tax their sons or strangers'? To this Peter confessed 'stranger'.
Jesus is the Son of God and taxes from God are not for Sons. Yet we see Jesus agreed to pay it so that He does not offend the Jewish authority, but to teach Peter obedience Jesus made him get the money out of a fish's stomach after catching a fish with a hook (not a net).
Did Jesus compromise with the Truth by paying the tax? No.
These laws were given to Moses as statutes by since they lacked the understanding they never understood and thus continued the statutes as instructed. Jesus understood and therefore was free from following the statute.
The Lord instructed us to keep the statutes so that we understand the things hidden. But once the hidden is understood then the statues becomes unnecessary and is kept only to let others know its understanding.
For Peter to catch a fish with a hook was not as simple as catching with a net and the changes of catching a fish with a coin it's stomach that too with a hook and that too the first fish was unbelievable. Peter needed to kill the fish to open its stomach to remove the coin and pay the tax. Jesus was that fish with the coin in its belly which was sacrificed for us so that the ransom for our souls could be paid.
The Lord is also telling us today we are the Temple and He has given us His Spirit of Truth Who leads us to all understanding. It is time we spend time with Him and come to the understanding of the instructions given in the Bible and stop following things like the Jews did/do.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, even after more than 2000years of receiving your Spirit man has been resisting your Spirit. Holy Spirit teach us to surrender to You and to hear your voice. To be led by You to all understanding. Man made of flesh, walking by sight cannot even imagine a spirit forget about imagining or understanding Heaven. Lord work in us teach us so that the Truth may grow in us...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.
15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
1 Timothy 2:3-6
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
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