The Fish Coin?!

by Andrew Forrest

I’ll admit, this is a strange story. The first part is straight-forward enough: Jesus thinks that though he doesn’t actually have to pay the Temple tax, he will do so, so as to not cause an unnecessary problem. It’s the next part that is CRAZY:

“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.”

Matthew 17:26-27

What are we to make of that? I really have no idea, but I thought this paragraph from Stanley Hauerwas on this passage was helpful:

“Christians rightly desire to do great things in service to God and in service to the world. But too often Christians think such service must insure the desired outcome. We simply do not believe that we can risk fishing for a fish with a coin in its mouth. Yet no account of the Christian desire to live at peace with our neighbor, who may also be our enemy, is intelligible if Christians no longer trust that God can and will help us catch fish with coins in their mouths. No account of Christian nonviolence is intelligible that does not require, as well as depend on, miracle. Christian discipleship entails our trusting that God has given and will continue to give all that we need to be faithful.”

Stanley Hauerwas, Matthew

Today’s Scripture

Matthew 17:24-27

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