However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself. (Matthew 17:27 ESV)
Jesus gave these instructions to Peter so they could pay their taxes. It was a very strange command because most people today work to pay their taxes, and if they are unable, then they ask for deadline extension. Peter was a fisherman and so it made sense that his vocation would be the means to obtain the payment. But instead of selling the fish, Jesus said he would find a shekel in its mouth.
The key lessons that I learned from this passage are:
• The Lord gives us the ability to work and earn wages.
• God expects us to pay what we owe, even to governing authorities.
• God provides more than we need so that we can bless others.
• Following God’s instructions, even if they do not make sense, is how Jesus perfects our faith.
• Everything we have is all from the Lord.
Yes, Jesus could have just reached into an empty bag and pull out a shekel. But I think he also used this miracle to strengthen Peter’s faith. This is a reminder that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and our ways are not his ways (Isaiah 55:8). Therefore, we must listen and obey him without question. His follow-through is our confidence that he will supply our needs. God is dependable and he never fails.