Matthew 17

The Miracle Fish

“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.” (v. 27)

There are so many good things in each of these chapters that it is hard sometimes to choose which passage to comment on. Such is the case in this chapter.

In this chapter we see some very interesting facts. Here the tax collectors approached Peter and asked if Jesus was going to pay taxes like everyone else had to do, and Peter, probably without thinking it through, answered “yes”. He committed Jesus to a worldly custom. In this verse, Jesus does what He doesn’t really need to do, “Lest we should offend them”, He did it for expedience’s sake. This same thought will, no doubt, be seen again in 1 Corinthians 6. Jesus honored the law. Expedience is defined as:

“Fitness or suitableness to effect some good end or the purpose intended; propriety under the particular circumstances of a case. The practicability of a measure is often obvious, when the expedience of it is questionable.”

Jesus is teaching that there are times when we must do things strictly for the sake of others, lest we offend them. The same thought is seen in Rom. 14:13-15. (Read that chapter too). There are many things that are ok for us to do that we can refrain from for the sake of weaker Christians; on the other hand, there are things that we should do, for the sake of the same, lest we become offensive, and cause them to stumble in their Christian walk. One must use discretion in such cases. (See 1 Cor. 8) Jesus performed a miracle to keep from offending the tax collectors! Their attitude was very important to Him. Note though that he also taught Peter to render unto others their due; Peter was required to pay taxes, and Jesus paid the price for both of them! I believe that we should meet certain obligations as long as we do not offend God’s Law or our fellow man.

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