x529.......Demanding Tribute

24 ¶ And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
1 ¶ At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 17:24-18:4)


The events in this area of scripture are as follows:

People who collect taxes (tribute money)---most certainly Roman officials-- come to Peter and ask if Jesus pays tribute.

Peter answers yes--(the Bible tells us that we ought to pay our taxes (see Remans 13) and submit to worldly authority in this area.

Next Jesus asks Peter a question in this regard--"of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?"

Jesus is asking Peter "whom do the Romans tax?"---who do worldly kings charge and collect money from?

The two choices that Jesus gives Peter are:

"of their own children"---The word which is translated here as "children" is a word which is usually translated as "son". The reference here is to people related to one another--fellow countrymen--people of the same nationality.
or--" of strangers"---This refers to foreigners--people who are of another country--outsiders--strangers.

Peter's answer is: "Of strangers."---He is saying that the Roman governors--the kings of the Gentiles--the kings of the world--collect tribute, claim to have the right to charge foreigners--strangers--the people whom they have conquered--with tribute.

Jesus then replies:--"Then are the children free."--Jesus is saying that by NOT paying tribute--someone is free. You are free when you are not in demand of tribute--when your leaders are NOT demanding payment from you.

Jesus then pays the tribute money--He does it miraculously--He submits to the worldly form of government--as Christians are told to do in this area (see Roman 13)--But watch what follows--

1 ¶ At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

"At the same time"--Jesus, after explaining the concept that NOT paying tribute makes one free, then relates the operational plan of the the kingdom of heaven. Gods' kingdom works in the opposite way to the kingdom of the world. The greatest is the servant of all. He is saying that in the kingdom of heaven--(the kingdom which the church is supposed to be representing!)--there is no one who is owed tribute. There is no one who is supposed to be "in authority" (as there is in the worldly form of government) who has the right to demand payment.

Notice how Jesus' teaching on tribute agrees perfectly with His teaching on what ministry is --on how that the church (amongst ourselves) we are NOT supposed to exercise authority one over another--as in the world....

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
(Matthew 20:25-28, KJV).

The greatest is the servant of all--NOT the person who exercises authority over the rest--and when we put these two teaching together we come to the understanding that Christian leadership has no right to demand money from others.

Christian giving is supposed to be Spirit-lead--from the heart--toward the poor--NOT by a law of necesity or by a tithe (which was Israel's sin offering--not ours--!!)

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-9, KJV).

Holding a demand of money over someone takes away their freedom. (Jesus said it I didn't!). As Christians we are meant to operate together on a common level--not exercising authority one over another--and certainly no demanding money from one another. This principle and teaching agrees perfectly with he system of Spirit-lead giving which is found in the church in the Bible. They gave to the weakest member--they gave to the poor within the church--so that all could operate in the Godly service which all are called to.

the Bible lines up with itself--why don't our organized churches?