In Matthew 17:27, Jesus gives instructions to Peter to go fish for the temple tax, and give it so as "not to offend" the Pharisees. But Jesus was not one to be concerned about offending or not offending the Pharisees. So what is his real message in this? - Alberto Schirmer (Atlanta)

Great question. Let me say at the outset that I do pay my taxes and so should you. Not just in order not to offend, but because it's right (Romans 13). We can distinguish two taxes in the NT, those paid to the state (the government) and those paid to the "church" (the Temple and its priesthood).

Jesus does not fully accept the legitimacy of the Jewish religious system, which explains why he pays the tax in order "not to offend." We, however, don't pay taxes "not to offend" the governing authorities, but because they are legally due!

Notice that the coin pays tax for Peter and Jesus both. Unlike so many leaders of the day, Jesus did not make an exception for himself. There was one standard. There is still just one standard.

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