Ezekiel 1: 2-5, 24-28
Matthew 17: 22-27
In the first verses of today’s gospel, Jesus is advising His disciples that things may not end the way the disciples were likely anticipating – Jesus is advising them of His eventual crucifixion and resurrection. I find it interesting that Matthew moves from this to a discussion of taxes and who owes what. The tax they are discussing was required of every male over 20 years old. The tax was put in place initially by Moses, but was re-implemented by King Joash for Solomon’s temple.
The children of a ruling monarch would not have to pay a tax, regardless of whether the monarch was Roman or Hebrew. Jesus goes on to discuss with Peter whether they really owe the tax – Jesus is essentially declaring that He is the Son of God. He and His disciples do not need to pay the tax because the Jerusalem Temple has lost its value – after all, Jesus is the living Temple. Focus should be placed on their relationship with Jesus rather than the Jerusalem Temple which had become nothing more than a building.
However, Jesus does not desire to create a scene with the Jewish official who would not yet understand what Jesus was saying – and in fact would have found reason to stone Him, He pays it. So now we see how the first verse and the remaining gospel are connected – Jesus is telling them that yes, He is the Christ, He will give everything for their sake, and the things of this world simply are not worth causing distraction from what is really important.
It is easy to get distracted in our relationship with Jesus. We get pulled a lot of directions in life between work, and family, and commitments – all of those things are really important, but not more important than our relationship with God. As the school year gets underway again in a couple of weeks, what is it that you need to just say “Nope” to so you can say “yes” to Jesus.
Smile at God today! He thinks you are amazing!