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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

September 4, 2023

The Bible Edge

Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have a Bible Edge

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.

The Great Fish Story continues! Debates could rage about the exact meaning of the conversation between Peter and Jesus, about the difference between custom and tribute, or the difference even between the meaning of the words children and strangers. Suffice it to say that Jesus proved that He and Peter did not owe such tribute, yet in order to not offend, the Lord told Peter two things. They would both pay the tribute and how they would obtain the money to do so.

The Lord told Peter the most amazing thing in today’s verse. Remember, Peter was a commercial fisherman. No doubt he had to have his doubts. However, based upon the events of Matthew 14:29-30 the disciple must have known that anything was possible. That is the Bible reference that tells us about Peter walking on the water. If the Lord could make that happen, what is it for the Lord to also put money in the mouth of a fish. To the Lord, that was nothing at all, it was children’s play.

Nowhere in the Bible are we told that this actually happened. We assume it did. Imagine money found in the mouth of a fish. This story is an illustration of the Lord fulfilling Paul’s teaching as found in I Corinthians 6:7. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Instead of fighting, arguing and offending, Jesus willingly allowed Himself and Peter to be defrauded. Now get this, paying the tribute money cost them nothing. The money was found in the fish’s mouth. Obeying I Corinthians 6:7 today is likewise. Willingly suffering wrong probably will cost us much less than fighting (not only money either). After all, in the long run the Lord can make it up. Yes, He can.

Also, remember this, when the Lord called Peter in Matthew 4:19 Jesus told him: Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. In this story of the tribute payment our Savior is teaching Peter, and by extension all who would “follow Him” how to catch men. Fishers use bait, Jesus was using bait to catch individuals by not offending them, by giving them the tribute money. It was a small price to pay, all it took was Peter having faith and going fishing to “win” the approval of those who could have made life difficult for the Lord and Peter.

Years ago, I heard Dr. Lee Roberson tell the story of passing out gospel tracts in Canada. One man passed by the preacher took the track, wadded it up, and unceremoniously put it in his pocket. Sometime later, while in his office back in Chattanooga that man met with Dr. Roberson and told him that he read that tract and trusted Christ as his Savior. Then, over the years that man gave Tennessee Temple over one million dollars for the ministries there. All Dr. Roberson did was go fishing, he caught a man, who had money to give. That’s an edge, a Bible edge. Need something, why not try fishing for men?

William T. Howe, Ph.D.

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