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One-a-Day...for the Heart: Gone Fishin'

At first glance, you may think this is a devotional about being fishers of men and going after lost souls. While that is our primary mission on this earth—proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ and bringing people to Him—other fish stories in the Bible beg to be examined…

Money in a fish’s mouth, for instance. Matthew 17:24-27 records this most intriguing story as follows: On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, "Doesn't your teacher pay the Temple tax?"

"Yes, he does," Peter replied. Then he went into the house.

But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, "What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?"

"They tax the people they have conquered," Peter replied.

"Well, then," Jesus said, "the citizens are free! However, we don't want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us."

The Temple tax was a yearly tax required of every man, and the coin used to pay it was a didrachma, which was about two days’ wages for a laborer. Both Peter and Jesus were expected to pay the tax. Even though Jesus was the Lord, He was not accepted as such, and being the humble servant He was, He did not want to offend the people by not paying the debt, so He came up with a supernatural “catch of the day,” and instructed Peter where and how to locate it.

Our God is an awesome God, just as the song proclaims! When the Lord instructed Peter to grab his fishing pole and head to the water’s edge, what might the skilled fisherman have thought? Open the mouth of the first fish I catch, and I’ll find a WHAT??? When Peter caught the supernatural catch of the day and opened its mouth, sure enough, there was a silver coin, a stater, worth two times as much as the didrachma. Jesus would not only take care of His tax debt but also cover Peter’s tax debt.

Was the coin already inside the fish’s belly as it swam around in the lake, or did Jesus, with His dunamis (dynamite, explosive) power supernaturally create the stater inside the mouth of the first fish that took Peter’s bait? Could the Lord have directed the fish to a spot in the lakebed where a coin had been dropped in the water, swallowed by the fish, and reeled in on Peter’s line?

Regardless of how the Lord accomplished the miracle, He proved that He could do it, and He did…primarily to provide tax money and not offend the Temple officials. Beyond that, He probably blew Peter out of the water (no pun intended) with the most spectacular fishing story of his career!

God can do anything. He provides for us in ways we cannot plan or anticipate. He creates things (money, fish, and people, to name a few) out of nothing. Dust and the breath of God = Adam, the first man. Money in a fish’s mouth = tax payment. God's miraculous dunamis power can create a fresh “catch of the day” for you! All Peter had to do was drop his fishing line in the water. God’s help and provision can be that easy. We just have to open our hearts, minds, and ears to God's solutions, not ours.

© 2023, Chris Werre

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