Meeting social obligations (Part I)
The temple tax known as the two drachma tax was established in Exodus 30: 13-16. Jesus and the apostles faced the temptation of meeting the tax obligation. The story is told in the gospel of Matthew, who was by trade, a former tax collector himself. The other gospels are silent about this situation of Jesus and the duty to pay taxes.
The story has great weight when it comes down to the responsibilities of the Christian and his or her social obligations. While is is convenient to avoid all cost that are unnecessary, the apostle Paul teaches that it is practical to sacrifice your own priorities for the sake of the gospel. This means that the gospel witness should be evident in our own lives. We should not avoid social obligations that appear senseless but prayerfully consider meeting them.
Jesus is exempt as a priest from paying the temple tax, but apostle Peter volunteers him when the tax collectors questioned whether they would pay the tax. When Peter walks into the house, Jesus already knows about the responsibility he was just committed to. Jesus asks Peter if the kings kids are exempt from paying taxes. Of course the kings kids are exempt and strangers should pay the tax, but this kingdom is earthly.
The temple tax is equal to two day’s wages. Jesus makes it clear to Peter that they will pay the tax. However, they had no money to pay it. The tax due in this story represents the creditors that are binding you to obligations. Pay the tax! Of course, you don’t have the money, do you? Though this was annual taxation, it is two days worth of wages that must be paid.
The apostles had left all they owned in pursuit of following Jesus. This scenario is applicable to many Christians whom forsake the worldly way of survival to depend on the system of the kingdom of Heaven. We leave all, and it seems like because there may not be a surplus that we are indeed poor. According to earthly terms, we are physically poor. However, having left all in pursuit of heaven makes us a kings kid. Therefore we may owe the worldly system a financial mountain but God makes a way for us to conquer it. He does things like that with Simon Peter, go fish, open the fish mouth, get the money, pay the tax for both of us.
(End Part I)
Truly I am,