Payment of the temple tax

Jesus was staying at Peter’s house in Capernaum when Jewish officials came to collect the annual temple tax of a half-shekel per person (Matt 17:24; cf. Exod 30:11-16). Jesus told Peter that he and his disciples no longer needed to pay the temple tax. Now that the Messiah had come, the Jerusalem temple had lost its importance. God now dwelt in a new ‘temple’, the disciples of the Messiah. They were God’s people, and just as a king does not collect taxes from his family, neither does God. However, the Jewish officials would not understand this, so rather than create misunderstanding, Jesus agreed to pay the tax (Matt 17:25-27).

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