Faith and Taxes – Matthew 17:14-27

This whole faith and authority in prayer thing has been gnawing at my heart a lot lately.  God is trying to teach me something… I wish I could tell you more, but I’m still trying to figure it out myself.

  • V14 – As always, a crowd is waiting for them.
  • V16 – Doh.  So far Matthew hasn’t mentioned anything about the disciples healing people but when Jesus sent the disciples out (10:5-8) He instructs them to heal, so we should assume they could and did.
  • V17 – Jesus is getting frustrated with their lack of faith and understanding.  He knows He’s only got a limited amount of time with them and they’re not picking up on things very quickly.  (See John 14:9 for another example of this.)

◊ I feel like this is me.  I’ve known Jesus for a long time, but I feel as though I have only recently begun to know Him.  Holy Spirit continue to open my eyes and give me understanding.  Spur me to obedience.  Jesus give me eyes for Your Kingdom.

  • V19 – They come to Him to learn from their mistake.

◊ I can bring my questions and failures to Jesus and ask Him to teach me through them.

  • V20 – Despite all they’d seen, they didn’t have faith – this time that God could work through them.  What is faith?  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for – Faith is being sure that what you hope will happen, will happen – the conviction of things not seen.  Even though you can’t see it, you know it will come and you act accordingly.  That was from Hebrews 11:1, by the way.  Again, (shameless plug) I highly recommend you check out the tango my husband wrote to help us learn that verse.

◊ I hedge my bets a lot with God.  Increase my faith.  Give me confidence that Your Spirit can and will work through me like You promised.

  • V20 – A mustard seed is teeny-tiny.  My ESV says, “Moving a mountain was a common metaphor in Jewish literature for doing what was seemingly impossible.”  This is a promise!

◊ How can I claim this promise?!  Jesus increase my faith!  Not for my glory, but for Yours and for the advancement of Your Kingdom.

  • V20 – This kind of faith could only be given by the Holy Spirit and so could only be used to advance God’s Kingdom.  When we are so full of God’s Spirit there is less room for our own desires.

◊ When something seems impossible to me is it because I doubt I can do it or do I doubt God’s ability to do it?  Doubt in my own abilities is warranted, but why am I trying to do an impossible thing by my own strength?  I have the Spirit of God in me!  (Philippians 4:13)

  • V22-23 – Again, a very clear statement about His death and resurrection.  This is not parable here.  This time He adds that He will be betrayed.  It’s like they didn’t hear the bit about Him being raised again because they left the conversation distressed, not reassured.

◊ When I hear that Jesus asks us to suffer with Him, do I freak out and stop listening so that I miss out on the bit about eternal reward?

  • V23 – For being so tight-lipped about the fact that He’s the Messiah, Jesus sure is free with the news that He’s going to die and then raise from the dead.  He even told the Pharisees!  (12:40)
  • V24 – My ESV says this is an annual tax that went towards supporting the temple.
  • V25-26 – Jesus’ question points out that a king wouldn’t tax his own sons to pay for the castle and since the temple was God’s house and Jesus is the Son of God…well, technically, He shouldn’t have to pay the temple tax.  A little inside joke between Jesus and Peter.
  • V27 – This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.  First of all, because it’s a great example of how God can provide in the most surprising ways.  Second, because this little fish served God in a way that he probably didn’t plan on.

◊ When God gives me a job, do I do it willingly and well, even when it doesn’t make any sense at all and could potentially ruin the plans I had for myself?

Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:

  • Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
  • What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
  • Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
  • What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
  • What do these verses move me to pray for myself?
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About knockinguntilitopens

I am a Christ follower, a wife, a mom, and a creator. I like to share my stuff.
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One Response to Faith and Taxes – Matthew 17:14-27

  1. nathan says:

    Opening my mouth, and believing (in faith) that God has gone ahead and prepared the way before me, doesn’t always happen or feel glamorous, but I think if I always knew when God was using me powerfully I might get a pretty big head about it! So good that some of the deep things are hidden behind a curtain, (like prayers that he answers “not yet” or “wait”).

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