So That We May Not Offend Them
Matthew 17:27 “But so that we may not offend them, 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 story around this text, confirmed that Jesus was tax compliant. The story also confirms that Jesus had a very good argument against the taxation system, but he deliberately refused to challenge the system. He was not interested in a side show. He paid the taxes, so that “we may not offend them.”
Matthew 17:24 “After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
(17:25) “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 sons or from others?”
(17:26) “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him.
(17:27) “But so that we may not offend them, 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.”
We learn from Jesus that you don’t always have to fight for all your rights. Sometimes and actually many times we sacrifice our rights for the sake of a bigger mission, for the sake of higher priorities. Silence and compliance in the face of oppression is not fear or compromise, it is strategy and prioritization. Choose your fights in relation to your mission.
If Jesus had not paid the Temple tax, He would have been misunderstood as looking down on the Temple yet He wasn’t! If Jesus hadn’t paid the tax, He would have attracted opposition from the leaders and people who respected the Temple. If Jesus hadn’t paid the tax, He would have therefore affected the mission for which He came to this territory. Since Jesus’ mission was bigger and more important than the demanded tax, He paid it. So that we may not offend them.
Sometimes and many times we don’t respond to foolish arguments though we have answers. So that we may not offend them, and let a bigger mission go forward. We ask for forgiveness where we are not wrong, we obey where we don’t have to, we ignore offense and accept ridicule. All for the sake of peace, or unity of the church or image, which supports our bigger mission of evangelism.
Not all fights are worth fighting. You can win a fight and loose a bigger mission. You may win but be permanently rejected afterwards.
You don’t have to fight all fights in school however right you are. You don’t have to fight all battles at the work place, in church, in your family, in your relationships, in your business, in your neighborhood, etc. Jesus refused to fight though He was right and would win. His victory would have affected a bigger mission.
Why fight and be dismissed from school and work, is it worth it? Why fight and loose a business opportunity? Why fight and loose a relationship, family and marriage? Why fight and have permanent hostility with neighbors? Why fight and be arrested by the authorities?many times we don’t fight in order to complete our studies, in order to remain employed, in order to get business profit, in order to remain in a relationship or marriage, in order to effectively evangelize as a united church. If your priorities are bigger than the fight, don’t fight!
There are fights that Jesus fought in order to defend a bigger mission. For example, when it was reported that Herod threatened to stop His preaching, which was His bigger mission, Jesus fought back! Luke 13:32 “He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’”
The same Jesus refused to fight against Temple tax. Though wrong and unfair, it didn’t affect His mission, therefore it wasn’t worth a fight. Jesus paid the tax He didn’t have to or want to pay, “so that we may not offend them.”
May God grant us wisdom to choose our fights. May God grant us blessings and progress of right prioritization in our lives. In Jesus name. Amen! (C)firstname.lastname@example.org (do not delete any part of this post, including this. You are free to share these posts but don’t edit the authorship or content… thank you and be blessed!)