Larry Roques

Larry Roques

The Pastor's Journal of House of Joy Church

THE FISH THAT PAYS THE TAXES

         The fish that pays the taxes

                                   July 27, 2014

 

 

Matthew 17:24-27 NKJV

 

When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” He said, “Yes.” 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?” Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” 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.”

 

In the continual quest to stumble Jesus, the religious leaders would continually use the law to try and lure him into compromising situations with his disciples. Fault finding is a signature trait of religion. A banner lesson here that we should learn, is that God did not send His son to help us get into religious arguments and conflicts...but to save man and leave a message that His grace is sufficient for us.

 

So Jesus responded to Peter’s inquiry, not by sparking a religious debate with him, but by setting the stage for a miracle that would point to the greatness to the Father in every situation.

 

Life will try its best to distract you and egg you on into situations that keep you from focusing upon God’s ability and His mighty power.  That’s when you just need to go fishing. Jesus did not focus upon the need, he directed toward the solution. Sometimes God uses the unusual to meet the need of the commonplace. He does not do this to astound you, but to continually prove to you that He is able. When life sends challenges, go fishing. That’s where you’ll find the fish that pays the taxes.

 

 

 

 

Got motivation?

 

Deuteronomy 2:7 NKJV

 

“For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.” ’

 

Isn’t it amazing that we have made it through so many struggles and challenges in this life and we still, at times, have difficulties believing that God is who he says He is and will do what He says He will do....Of all of His names, God continually proves his Jehovah Jirah (provider) every second of every day.

 

Peter’s role of leadership seemed to be continually challenged. Coming from a less than academic background, Peter walked away from the only thing he had known into a new world where the miraculous was the “standard operating procedure” and unorthodox methodology was the norm. So when the temple tax collectors approached Peter with a seemingly moral question, Jesus’ reply was to send him to do what he knew...go fishing.

 

 

God gets our attention best in our time of need. Let’s face it; when things are cool, 90% of walking humanity puts God dead last on their list. But when impending mortal danger incurs...everybody gets spiritual. When a need arises, check your motivations. By all means, go to God. But never forget that he is there when times are good...and when times are bad. His provision is always in the most unlikely places, doing what you normally do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got bait?

 

 

Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 NKJV

 

Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth. If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.

 

Jesus sent Peter fishing. Fishing was Peter’s old craft. Fishing was what Peter was comfortable doing. Peter had caught many fish. But for the first time, Peter was not fishing for the fish...but for what the fish contained. Sometimes proving to ourselves that we must trust God with everything we know is the absolute hardest part of our lives as a believer.

 

 

We do things with a “normal” expectancy.  Place yourselves in this scenario. You go fishing...you throw a line or a a net into the water...you come up with a fish...you check it mouth and in there is a gold coin. Just a regular day fishing, right?

 

The lesson here is to look for the supernatural in the midst of normality because that is where it will come from.  If you cannot release what is in your hand for the sake of seeing God’s best then you are destined for a life of struggle and mundane occurrences.  Release your seed...your bait to God and watch what happens. Note that the coin was not found in a fish...but THE FIRST fish...that Peter caught. When God’s blessing is in the mix, EXPECT a supernatural return.

 

 

Got faith?

 

John 14:1-4 NKJV

 

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so,  I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

 

 

And here’s where it  is all tied together. ..I tell people now, God doesn’t just have “A plan” for your life...he has BIG plans for your life. They are plans for the day you receive Jesus as savior that stretch into eternity. Peter Had issues; he witnessed miracle after miracle. He was called out of a work a day life into the company of the King of Kings the Lord of Lords. He watched as prophecy after prophecy came to pass before his eyes. He denied the Lord just as Jesus said he would...He saw the dead rise...and after Jesus’ crucifixion...He went back to fishing.

 

Jesus did not only restore Peter at the end of John (21:15-19)...he pulled him, again out of a life of fishing for fish and back to a life of fishing for men.  This was the third time he had encountered the disciples since the resurrection. This time Peter had made the decision that they were going back to fishing. Again they were toiling and Jesus led them to a miracle catch. He took them to breakfast where they ate...you guessed it....FISH.

 

You have to wonder if, when Peter ate fish, he checked the mouth for a gold coin.  Saints of God, don’t underestimate God’s enormous plans for your time here on earth. They are far greater than what you have laid out for yourself.  Believe God....Trust his instruction....Sow into his kingdom...obediently follow His paths....and watch for his miraculous provision.  

 

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