Peter Jesus Friend
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Peter Jesus Friend
Page 21

Four Drachma Coin

Jerusalem CrossAfter Jesus and the disciples arrived in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, the tax collectors came to Peter and challenged him in Matthew 17.24b-27, "'Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?' '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?' 'From others,' Peter answered. 'Then the children are exempt,' Jesus said to him. '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.' The "drachma" was the Greek currency used at that time in Galilee which was produced and issued with the Romans' permission and oversight by different states and cities. It continued to be used during the Roman era. The "four-drachma coin" weighed 4.3 grams of silver and was the most popular coin during Alexander the Great's conquests and continued as a local currency in Judea under the Romans. A Four drachma coin was equivalent to four days pay for a skilled worker, which was quite a lot of tax to pay even by today's standards! But here Jesus provides the tax in a miracle both for himself and his friend Peter. This silenced the tax collector's criticism of him.

Filled With Grief

Temple tax coinOn another occasion when they talked together in Galilee, Jesus said something astonishing to his disciples in Mark 9.31b, "They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, 'The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.' But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it." The disciples were filled with questioning at Jesus statement but they were more concerned about who was the greatest among them.

Peter's Doubt

FishJesus spoke of his sinless nature and asked the disciples whether any of them could prove him guilty of sin. If he were telling the truth, why wouldn't they believe him? Later in 2 Corinthians 5.21, Saint Paul explained that Jesus had committed no wrong, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Note here that "to be sin" can equally be translated as "to be a sin offering." Peter Jesus friend who walked and talked with Jesus explained after the resurrection in 1 Peter 2.22, "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." This is a reference to Isaiah 53.9, which says "He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth." Saint John, the disciple that Jesus loved, adds in 1 John 3.5, "But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin."

"Jesus Friend Peter"
by Ron Meacock

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