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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

September 1, 2023

The Bible Edge

Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have a Bible Edge

Matthew 17:24

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

Let’s think about money. In the New Testament there are 22 usages of the word “money.” Evidently the Lord knows that money is a major concern on earth, and He wants us to know some things about it. For the next month let’s see what the His book has to say.

The first usage of the word money is associated with one of the most amazing fishing stories anyone could ever tell. It’s a fishing story that is true. Jokingly it can be stated that the only person who could ever tell a true fish story is a one-armed fisherman. He could honestly say “I caught a fish this big” and only hold up one hand. You must visualize that to get the joke.

It all started as the Lord and understandably His disciples entered into Capernaum, which was a fishing village on the north shore of the sea of Galilee where Peter lived. Evidently Jesus was staying at Peter’s house for He had no home of His own. Most scholars teach that this “tribute” was not a tax or even a toll, but yet a set amount paid by Jews for the support of their temple. It is quite possible that these wanted to trap Jesus, as the case often was, by Peter saying that they would not pay the tribute. They called the Lord Peter’s “Master” not Priest or Rabbi, both of which were exempt from paying the tribute. This “tribute” was not mandated by any law it was a custom or voluntary gift given as an offering. Peter immediately stated without any doubt “Yes.” Jesus would pay the tribute.

Notice that they did not ask Peter if he were going to pay this tribute, only if his Master would. Perhaps they were more concerned with having something to accuse the Lord of than the needs of the Temple. Even the way they asked the question …Doth not your master pay tribute? Not “will your master pay tribute” but they used a negative to ask a positive. This is one of those questions that upon answering “yes” the answer could be understood as “yes, he does not pay tribute.” If Peter would have answered no, it would mean the same thing, “he does not pay tribute.” This was a snare, one that could only be sidestepped by paying the tribute.

When Peter entered the house, he did not have to tell Jesus of this situation, the Lord already knew all about it. In the next verse it is recorded Jesus prevented him… Prevented him from what, probably from telling Jesus about the tribute situation. This is a teaching point. Jesus was letting Peter and anyone who ever reads this story that He, the Lord, always already knows all about the money issues of life. That is the edge to take away today, the Bible Edge. Whatever the financial issue, our Lord in Heaven already knows all about it and He always has a remedy. Sometimes that remedy is a miracle in the making. Which brings us to the fish story…tomorrow.

William T. Howe, Ph.D.

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