And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Does not your master pay tribute?…
I. ON WHAT PRINCIPLE CHRIST CLAIMED EXEMPTION. This tax levied for temple services. On no principle but that of His being essentially Divine, and therefore not bound to contribute towards services virtually rendered to Himself. Christ was His own Temple.
II. THE PRINCIPLE ON WHICH, NEVERTHELESS, HE DETERMINED ON PAYING THE TAX. — Not to put an occasion of stumbling in the way of others. How unwilling we are to withdraw pretensions. It requires Christian discretion to know when to give way. Christ surrendered no principle; He did not say that He was not the Son of God. He forbore from asserting it.
III. THE MIRACLE BY WHICH HE PROCURED THE REQUISITE MONEY. Though the Proprietor of all things, He had made Himself poor for our sakes. He here gave proof of superhuman endowments; omniscience and omnipotence. He knew the money was in the mouth of the fish; His power was felt in the waters. There was propriety in the miracle when we consider which apostle our Lord dispatched on this errand. Had St. Matthew been sent the money would have been got differently, as he was a tax-gatherer; St. Peter was a fisherman, hence he got the money from a fish. Christ put honour on this honest occupation. We are not to neglect means because we seem to need miracles.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?