WAY #31. Pay Tax, Matthew 17:23-25 ( also 11:19, 22:15-22), Wednesday 9 April, Katherine Koesasi
24 When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, ‘Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?’ 25He said, ‘Yes, he does.’ And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?’ When Peter said, ‘From others’, Jesus said to him, ‘Then the children are free. However, so that we do not give offence to them, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me.’
I have always been fascinated by taxation and the variety of opinions about it, including in the bible. Ultimately it is not a question of ‘taxation is good’ or ‘taxation is bad’, but rather the purpose of the tax, its structure, who is being taxed and how much.
And I like to think it is this aspect of taxation that is being explored in last two sentences of vs 25 ‘From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?’
I like paying taxes and am more than happy to pay them, but I want them to make sense and be fair. I get distressed by media portrayal of taxes as bad, I dislike the concept of tax minimisation (it seems so mean spirited), and my inner economist loves it when negative externalities are internalised by a well constructed tax.
– Katherine Koesasi