“Yes, he does," Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, 'What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?" “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free!" Matthew 17:25-26
For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day. Psalm 25:1-5(NASB)
Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Keep traveling steadily along his pathway and in due season he will honor you with every blessing, and you will see the wicked destroyed. Psalm 37:34 (TLB)
In the continuation of this week's Bible story in the Matthew passage above, it is after Peter has handled by himself the encounter with Temple tax collectors that he turns to Jesus. Most likely, Peter intends to tell Jesus about the encounter and how he assured them that Jesus is one who submits to paying the Temple tax. His goal was likely for them to come up with a plan for paying the tax. But before Peter can speak, Jesus speaks. Jesus already knows what has taken place. Jesus wants Peter to understand that he and his disciples truly are free from being subject to the tax, to those who collect the tax, and to the religious authorities who impose the tax. This is the reason for the question Jesus poses to Peter. Jesus is not saying that they won't pay the tax but that they don't have to.
Why? Because Jesus is the Messiah. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus is establishing his kingdom and his disciples and other followers are a part of it. Jesus wants people to be reached for the kingdom rather than be offended by it. Even if it is not likely that those who come up against us will be reached there are always others who observe and see how we handle ourselves in the face of adversity. Remembering that Jesus can handle it better than you can and then deferring to him is what being a kingdom member is all about. But even if you do this initially and you have been living in the reality of the truth from the Colosssians verse above, that "Your real life is hidden with Christ in God," it is not easy to maintain this state if the adversity we face is ongoing. The words of our Psalm 25 passage above are a beautiful expression of how to maintain this state from one who knows what it means to stay within the security of God's presence and provision. The Psalm 37 passage above captures the need so well when it says, "Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Keep traveling steadily along his pathway."
Lord, thank you for putting me on the pathway of the kingdom. Continue to help me remember that you can handle whatever I face better than I can. Help me to continue to defer to you by coming to you and waiting for you to handle the situations of my life. Lord, I confess that I am impatient and often fail to wait for you. Help me to believe that you will handle things in your time and in your way and it will be better than I could ever have imagined in the long run.
Posted on Wed, May 27, 2015
by Alan Porter