the coin in the mouth of the fish

Matthew 17: 24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”25 “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?”26 “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him.27 “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

God is really bugging me with this verse at the moment… I feel it relates so powerfully to how life should look as a Christian who believes in the provision of God.

Couple of things…

  1. Jesus knew Peter’s concern about paying the tax before Peter had said a word about it… (v25 – “Jesus was the first to speak”) – How nice is it to know that the same thing applies to us today?

  2. Peter was a fisherman by trade… Fisherman normally make their money by selling their catch, and the return is in proportion to the effort they put in and how successful they’ve been. In this instance though, Jesus alerted Peter to an opportunity to multiply his return out of proportion of the effort Peter had put in.

  3. The outcome of the story isn’t actually written down, but one can assume that Peter was obedient to pursue the opportunity that Jesus put in front of him.

  4. Jesus didn’t say to Peter “go and dig for gold“, or “go and play the stock market“, or “go fill this high paying role for a day”, or even “go ask this rich guy for the money”… He got Peter to take the skills he already had, and multiplied their value for a specific purpose.

  5. The money Peter got from the mouth of the fish was enough to pay for both Jesus’ needs and his. (v27 – “for my tax and yours”)

I am still working through the full story of what God is trying to say to me personally through this passage, but my encouragement I’ve taken from it so far is this: God’s provision is not something we need to rack our brains for, to strive and stress and struggle to find “that one good idea” that will set us up for life and provide provision for the Kingdom.

I thoroughly believe that God’s agenda in all things is to draw His kids into deeper relationship with Him. If I just set the sail of my heart towards God’s purpose, walk with Him, listen, and obey, He will provide the rest.

And what He provides will be enough for both of us.