Binding Broken Hearts

Introducing Jesus to Those Who Need Him Most

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The Power of the Word - Part 8

Frankly, he was tired of hearing about death. From where he stood, or more accurately walked, the future looked bright. There was a lot to live for – a lot to accomplish. But every time it seemed they moving in the direction of meeting their goals, Jesus would burst their happy bubbles with talk of death. He couldn’t figure out why Jesus kept doing that.

As the group entered the city of Capernaum, Peter could feel his shoulders start to relax. He was almost home. It would be so nice to eat his wife’s cooking this night.

As they reached the gate to Peter’s home, his wife and mother-in-law came rushing out to meet them. There was laughter and hugs for everyone. After their dusty robes were removed and hung up and their equally dusty feet were washed, everyone settled into comfortable chairs for a much-needed rest.

After making sure everyone had a cool drink and some bread and fruit to snack on, Peter’s wife pulled him aside. She had an errand for him to run. She needed some of her special spices for the evening meal. She could not go to the store, and neither could the servants. They were all busy cooking for the large number of guests. Would Peter go to the spice shop down the street and get what she needed?

Peter smiled down at his beautiful wife. How could he say, “No”? He grabbed his money pouch and headed out the gate in the direction of the spice shop.

His mind was on his errand and the wonderful meal he would soon be enjoying. He wasn’t really watching where he was going. He didn’t notice the temple administrators standing rigid in the road waiting for him. That was until he almost knocked them over.

Peter helped them back onto their feet. As they tried to regain their dignity while wiping dust off their robes they said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” (Matthew 17:24)

Taken aback by this abrupt question without even the customary greeting, Peter blurted out, “Of course!” (Matthew 17:25) What a silly question. Jesus was the epitome of keeping the Jewish laws. Peter had never ever seen Jesus fail to keep even the smallest requirements of Scripture. These temple administrators were just trying to trap Jesus, and Peter would have none of it.

Peter nodded curtly and abruptly turned back to his errand. The incident was soon forgotten by Peter as he completed his wife’s errand and returned home in anticipation of culinary delights. But the incident was not forgotten by Jesus.

“And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?’” (Matthew 17:25)

That’s odd, Peter thought. Why does the topic of taxes keep coming up? First the temple administrators a little while ago in the street, and now Jesus. The answer was painfully obvious. The families of kings never paid taxes. Where did the kingdom money come from? From everyone other than the king’s relatives.

“Peter said to Him, ‘From strangers.’” (Matthew 17:26)

Jesus smiled at his answer. That smile that usually came just before he was supposed to learn something. Funny that Jesus smiled at him that way more often than He did with the other disciples.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.’” (Matthew 17:26-27)

Dutifully Peter got back up, grab some of his fishing gear, and headed to beach muttering all the way. Great – another errand before the evening meal. Why couldn’t he have just kept his mouth shut? How DID Jesus know about his conversation with the temple administrators anyway?

As he threw the fishing line into the Sea of Galilee, he prepared to be there a while. His stomach growled, and he grumbled some more at missing the meal he had so eagerly anticipated. What was Jesus thinking? Fish don’t come to the water’s edge asking to be caught. Fish are found out in the deep, reachable only by boats. Peter wondered how long he would have to stand there with the fishing line in the water before he could go back home and tell Jesus he couldn’t do what Jesus asked.

While Peter’s mind was thus engaged, the tug on the line totally surprised him. So much so, he almost lost his grip on the line. He recovered and began to pull the line in. Sure enough it was a fish. OK, Peter thought, there may have been a slim chance that he could catch a fish standing on the shoreline, but it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.

What was out of the realm of possibility was finding a coin in the mouth of the fish with enough monetary value to pay the temple tax for both Jesus and him. Peter slowly opened the fish’s mouth and saw a flash of light. The setting sun was reflecting off of something. Peter poked around the fish’s mouth and his fingers landed on something hard and cold. He froze. It couldn’t be. He pulled out the object, and there it was. Enough to pay their taxes and then some.

Peter raced back into the city, past his house, and into the gates of the synagogue. When the temple administrators saw the big fisherman barreling toward them, they took a step backward remembering the hardness of the ground from earlier in the day. Peter stopped just short of them, smiled, and handed them the coin.

“This should be enough for the temple tax for both Jesus and me,” Peter said. The surprised men took the coin, pulled out the temple record, and made the notation, never saying a word in response.

Peter turned and headed home, entering the door just in time for the meal.

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

What about you? What circumstances are you facing? What needs are looming in your life? We have a God who cares about every aspect of our lives (1 Peter 5:7) and Who invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Whatever your need may be today, let the power of God’s word take care of all that concerns you today (Psalm 138:8), even if it’s a need of your own making.

“Thus says God the Lord, . . . I will . . . bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.” (Isaiah 42:5-7)

This is why Binding Broken Hearts is passionate about getting God’s Word into prisons and into the hands of inmates who have desperate needs that only Jesus can fulfill. Because these are men and women who need Jesus most.

Perhaps you want to help spread the power of His Word to an inmate who desperately needs its power. If so, please consider becoming a financial partner with us. Click here to see how you can help.

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