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Lesson # Matt. 17:26-27
Study Material - Matt. 17:26-27
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
26 Peter [Petros] saith [lego] unto him [autos] , Of [apo] strangers [allotrios] . Jesus [Iesous] saith [phemi] unto him [autos] , Then [ara] are [eisi] the children [huios] free [eleutheros] .
27 Notwithstanding [de] , lest [hina me] we should offend [skandalizo] them [autos] , go thou [poreuomai] to [eis] the sea [thalassa] , and cast [ballo] an hook [agkistron] , and [kai] take up [airo] the fish [ichthus] that first [proton] cometh up [anabaino] ; and [kai] when thou hast opened [anoigo] his [autos] mouth [stoma] , thou shalt find [heurisko] a piece of money [stater] : that [ekeinos] take [lambano] , and give [didomi] unto them [autos] for [anti] me [emou] and [kai] thee [sou] . KJV-Interlinear
26 And upon his saying, 'From strangers,' Jesus said to him, 'Consequently the sons are exempt. 27 'But, lest we give them offense, go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a stater. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.' NAS
Several written phrases are making their way onto bombs and missiles, 'Your hunt for virgins starts here!', 'Payback.', and other even more colorful remarks. Now that diplomacy has broken down, and Saddam's defiant refusal to change his ways remains, then probably all of the world is awaiting the 'shock and awe' to be unleashed against Iraq. It's interesting that the world sees the inevitable, but Saddam does not, or refuses to see his own end. Such is the soul of a person who lacks wisdom. They will never see the truth. They will never accept the truth, even if their stubbornness means their own destruction and misery for others.
But we can rest assured that Jesus Christ controls history. Here is a classic case of good verses evil. And as we all expect, this conflict will be a very short one, with Iraq setting a worlds record for displaying the most white flags on such short notice.
We all have responsibilities in life. Whether the world agrees with us or not - right is right and wrong is wrong. A large number of countries see this. Unfortunately a few countries want to play the 'do nothing' game even when it is obvious to all that Saddam never intends to do anything.
Jesus states that which is clear in our current verse of study. The world makes its own exceptions. The responsibility is there for all to pay their taxes, for all to support the teaching of the Word of God, for all to give generously for charitable causes. It cannot be avoided. We all have responsibilities in life and if you ventured back to Matt. 6:1-2+ then you will recall that we will be evaluated on what 'we' do (each one of us), and not on what others do. We cannot transfer our obligation onto others. Sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing is not an option.
Jesus Christ controls history. Jesus Christ controls history in three ways. First, He can do things directly Himself. He created the universe. Second He can work indirectly through others (believers for example) to obtain His intended result. Saddam is about to be eliminated from human history via a very powerful allied force. Third, He controls history through allowing things to occur. He allows each of us to make up our own minds - even if we make bad decisions. He allows us to fail.
Peter had no money for their poll tax for the Temple. Jesus did not create money out of thin air, but instead sent Peter to fish and inside that first fish caught was the money for their tax. The money already existed. Someone probably lost it at sea and the fish swallowed it. God is not going to intervene in the economics of the world by simply creating wealth out of thin air, but will instead use the resources that exist to make provision for those who need it. A 'stater' is equivalent to one shekel which is equivalent to four drachma's (two each for the tax).
God has unlimited resources and can provide anything for anyone at anytime. All Peter had to do was to obey and be responsible. He worked for the fish and was blessed by God for his obedience.
What we need to do is to learn from God exactly what our responsibilities are in life. Those who follow a pattern of selfishness will lose out in life sooner or later. Saddam is a very good example of a person who is extremely selfish. And a selfish person is ruled by his own lusts. Lusts distort ones morals and 'self' is elevated to great heights. All others become expendable, unworthy and useless. This opens up the door for atrocities.
Those who learn their responsibilities in life will be blessed. One cannot learn correct responsibilities unless one learns from Gods word (the absolute standard of proper behavior). Such behavior is not the spiritual life, but results from advancing in the spiritual life. Advancing to spiritual maturity through the correct study of the Word of God, ultimately produces the correct and responsible and desired behavior in ones life. The result? Greater happiness, greater blessing, greater independence from the chains of this world.
Granted the taxes and charitable gifts made, may go to those who are dishonorable. No matter. God holds everyone accountable. Jesus gave to the Temple even though it was being run by evil priests who rejected Him. Jesus fulfilled his responsibility to support the teaching of Gods Word. For that, the giver is blessed. The recipients may abuse the moneys given to them. For their selfishness and irresponsibility they will be disciplined or judged appropriately. It is Gods place to judge, not ours. We give because it is in our desire to contribute by whatever means for the benefit of others. We cannot control history. God does that. We cannot control what the recipients of our gifts will do with them. God will take up all the slack from where we leave off. What we have in effect is merely the opportunity to give, and to demonstrate that we give charitably, privately, and without regret. That is the proper attitude without ulterior motives, without human recognition, but because we desire to help others or participate in some small way in the helping of others. For that unselfish generosity, God will bless us.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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