From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax?

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

In one week tax returns will be due here in the United States. Over the years I have encountered Christians who believe that they do not have to pay taxes.. can't really remember their rationale but they were pretty firm in their beliefs. The truth is that many begrudgingly pay taxes and look for every single legal (and I used that term loosely) deduction they are entitled to. I think taxes have always been an unpopular reality - back in Jesus' day and today people have always hated to pay them.

Interesting how Jesus addresses the inequities of the tax code back then. Apparently it was common knowledge that some (i.e. sons of kings) did not ever pay taxes - sounds a lot like folks today who use loopholes in the tax code to evade taxes. Jesus tells Peter that he should pay the tax to simply not offend the taxing authority. He did not see himself as one above the law. But the way he finds the shekel to pay the tax - now that is quite amazing. How did he know that fish had a shekel?

My trust is in you Lord. Help my attitude to be one of gratitude when I pay taxes.

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