My Daily Journal:
I am always amazed at the way that God chooses to provide for our needs. This story of the sheckle and the fish is amazing in that regard. First, let’s look at some other ways this could have happened:
1. Jesus could have used a coin from the money the apostles had. It probably wasn’t much money, but we know from other scriptures that Judas was the keeper of their coins.
2. Peter could have been sent out fishing and harvested a number of fish to be sold for the money.
3. A coin could have appeared in Peter’s or Jesus’ hand or pocket.
I believe the way it did happen reveals much about God’s provision.
1. He does not take away from our work and focus on His ministry to answer our prayers. Our God is not a God of limited resources, where one side of the ledger is debited for the other to be credited. He provides out of His riches and plenty, not in a rob Peter to pay Paul fashion.
2. We are called to work, but God’s exceptional provision for our lives and His majesty is not wages for our work. We, like Peter, have to cast the line into the water. We have to take the step of faith and be a part, but we are not earning our provision.
3. God does not do magic tricks. Could the creator of everything, the one who multiplied the baskets of fish and bread, simply made a coin appear or adjusted the ledger to make it appear the payment was made? Of course. But that normally is not His approach. He can heal with a touch or a word, but He more often provides healing more in keeping with this event.
I think one of the key messages is that God provided for this far in advance of our awareness of the need. At some point God provided a coin to someone at the lake. At some point that coin was dropped. At some point a type of fish became native to that lake which gathers pebbles into its mouth to dig a safe breeding spot for its young. At some point a fish was born who, at some point, gathered the coin into its mouth. At some point that fish proceeded to the area where Peter cast his hook and, without dropping the coin, bit the hook and was reeled in.
More often than not, my experience of miracles in my life resemble this. Far before I knew I would have the need, God set things in motion to provide for that need. It is only by looking back, that I see the way He had been working for days, weeks, months and years, to bring what I needed, exactly in the portion needed, to me exactly when I needed it.
What comfort this should bring us. When we pray to God, we aren’t asking Him to leap into action. We aren’t asking Him to perform some magic. We simply need to ask Him to show us where to cast the line to reel in the miracle that He started far before we asked.
The transfiguration. The words and image of Moses and Elijah on the mountain
they were filled with grief – they understood and accepted that He would die
They were filled with grief – they did not understand and accept that He will be raised back to life on the 3rd day
Annual census tax. 1/2 sheckle = 2 drachma = “ransom for his life”
His willingness to pay the price for life as a Jew, even though He was above the law (the son of the King) and He would give up His own life to pay the ransom for ours that we could not pay