22 As they were going about together in the Galil, Yeshua said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of people 23 who will put him to death, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were filled with sadness.
24 When they came to K’far-Nachum (Capernaum), the collectors of the half-shekel came to Kefa (Peter) and said, “Doesn’t your rabbi pay the Temple tax?” 25 “Of course he does,” said Kefa. When he arrived home, Yeshua spoke first. “Shim‘on, what’s your opinion? The kings of the earth — from whom do they collect duties and taxes? From their sons or from others?” 26 “From others,” he answered. “Then,” said Yeshua, “The sons are exempt. 27 But to avoid offending them — go to the lake, throw out a line, and take the first fish you catch. Open its mouth, and you will find a shekel. Take it and give it to them for me and for you.”
Jesus began to speak more of His death. He also said He will be "raised." I'm sure that the disciples were pondering all of these things. Some might wonder why they felt sad if they had the promise of Him being raised, but we must stop and put ourselves in their shoes.
If I hear news that means change, I often become a bit "meh" as my children like to put it. I think we used to call it melancholy. I tend to process the idea and sometimes it comes across that I am sad. Change doesn't always mean just jumping up and down with excitement. Sometimes change needs to be pondered. In this case, the disciples were given news that their leader was going to die. I think that would cause them sadness, even with the belief that He would raise again. Anything that major would cause change and bring new experiences and they had no idea what would/could happen.
The thought behind taxes can be confusing. My thoughts and opinion is that God wants us to pay taxes and support the country we live in. They will not always make decisions that we would agree with, but we will always need services they render. God will give wisdom and insight into how to support those who are in charge.
There was also a tax to keep the Temple operating. The priests were exempt from this tax. Jesus was not considered a priest in the "world" sense so this is why He chose to pay and not cause "offense." He knew that His disciples were not considered priests by those who were in charge of the Temple. He chose to pay the Temple tax.
As we finish chapter 17, let's stop and realize that Jesus tried to "keep the peace." I'm sure there were days He wanted to just let someone have it (and He did when He became angry that the Temple court had become a marketplace). Most days, however, He aimed to work alongside those He came in contact with. He kept the course steady and balanced.
Balance... something our world is missing. Many people are on one extreme thought process or another. Balance is disappearing. Sometimes balance is difficult. Sometimes we have to swing a pendulum one way or another in order to accomplish something, but if you think of a teeter-totter, balancing it allows both people to touch the ground and have a foundation. When one person is "in control" it becomes a monarchy and not a team. Jesus had a team with Him to accomplish the Father's work.
Aim for HIS balance today. Aim to "Keep Calm" and steady. Try not to offend. Don't let change rattle or shake you. Speak the Truth in Love and let HIS light shine through you.
Love and blessings,
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