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The Temple Tax June 10, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 17:24-27.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus and His disciples arrive in Capernaum. Some tax collectors ask Peter if Jesus pays the Jewish tax relating to the temple, and Peter responds in the affirmative.

Later, Jesus asks Peter if a king would collect taxes from his family or from strangers. Peter acknowledges that the latter is correct; thus, since Jesus is the Son of God, God would not collect taxes from Him. Yet He chooses not to offend the Jewish tax collectors.

Thoughts: Here, we see that Jesus is willing to pay the Jewish tax relating to the temple, even though He is not obligated to do so. Ryle offers some insights on this point:

Let us remember this passage as citizens and subjects. We may not like all the political measures of our rulers; we may disapprove of some of the taxes they impose. But the big question after all is, Will it do any good to the cause of religion to resist the powers that be? Are their measures really injuring our souls? If not, let us hold our peace, “so that we may not offend them.”

I should note that after I registered to vote about ten years ago, I began to think more seriously about politics and the impact of my vote on an arbitrary election. Since I would like to optimize the allocation of my financial resources for God’s glory, I often wrestle with the following questions as a voter with a Christian worldview:

  • should we combat fraud and waste by our lawmakers?
  • when faced with a tax hike, should we support it?
  • does God call us to oppose certain ballot measures and/or political candidates?

Regarding the third question, I posit that there is general agreement on certain issues (e.g. opposing child sex trafficking), but other issues open up a can of worms (e.g. assisted suicide). I still believe that voting is consistent with God’s desire that believers fulfill their civic duties, though it’s often difficult to know if God is pleased with my final ballot.

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