Introductory discussion questions

  1. What do people say you do well?
  2. How has criticism affected you?
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While Jesus and the disciples are gathering together in Galilee Jesus predicts his death for the second time, explains how God will set them free and discusses the temple tax.

Matthew 17:22-27   

Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time

22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

The Temple Tax

24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple 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 children or from others?”

26 “From others,” Peter answered.

“Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. 27 “But so that we may not cause offense, 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.

Jesus predicts his death for the second time:

  1. What does Jesus prophecy at the start of the story?
  2. By using the name “Son of Man” who does Jesus claim to be?
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Jesus is referred to as the “Son of Man” 88 times in the New Testament. The bible does not define the exact meaning of the phrase but in Daniel 7:13-14 it says:

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

The description “Son of Man” is a Messianic title. When Jesus used this phrase he was claiming to be the Messiah.

The Temple Tax:

  1. Who comes to Peter’s home and what do they ask?
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The temple tax was not a Roman tax but a Jewish tax collected for the up keep of the temple. The temple tax was commanded in Exodus 30:11-16 for the atonement of souls.

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. 13 Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the Lord. 14 All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord. 15 The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives. 16 Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord, making atonement for your lives.”

 Exodus 30:11-16

  1. From whom do the kings of earth collect taxes
  2. Do the kings of earth collect taxes from “their own children”
  3. Spiritually speaking who are the “others” and who are the “children”
  4. Does Jesus need to pay the temple tax
  5. Why does Jesus say they should pay the temple tax?
  6. How should this influence our own actions?
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Counties evangelist Clive Cornish walks with his cross towards the ruins of Tintern Abbey in the Wye Valley
  1. How does Jesus demonstrate his power and authority?
  2. How much money is found in the fish’s mouth and what is this worth?
  3. Whose temple tax (redemption tax) does Jesus pay?
  4. What is the spiritual significance of this?
  5. What does this tell you about our value in God’s eyes?
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Closing comment

In the opening passages Jesus claims he is the Messiah, the Son of God. He confirms this in the story by demonstrating his control over creation – knowing about a fish with just the right amount of money in its mouth. As the Son of God, free from sin, Jesus is exempt from the temple tax. But Jesus provides Peter with the means to pay the tax so that his behaviour would not be a stumbling block to others. This however points to something greater, the age of the temple is passing and the time to come to God through Jesus is arriving. Jesus called Peter, Jesus calls us and Jesus, through his death on the cross, paid the price of atonement – once and for all he paid the temple tax.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

1 John 3:1

Counties evangelist Clive Cornish stops while carrying his cross to talk with a group of young people outside Caernarfon Magistrates Court

But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so whoever believes shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

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