Matthew 17:24 (NKJV) When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”
Christ caused a lot of controversy when He walked this earth. However, we need to understand that He didn’t go around looking for opportunities to be controversial. When Christ caused controversy, it was because of His commitment to fulfill His divine directive to declare God-inspired truth. But there were other times when He diffused potential controversies.
For example, at one point the religious rulers approached Peter and asked him why Jesus hadn’t paid the temple tax. This particular tax was to be paid each year by every Jewish male to support the upkeep of the Temple. It didn’t take Jesus’ critics long to recognize He hadn’t done so. Controversy was brewing.
But Jesus went on to explain to Peter that the Temple itself, along with all the tax money it brought in, belonged to God. And as God’s Son, He wasn’t obligated to pay for something that was already His! For that reason, Christ hadn’t paid the temple tax. However, we can’t miss the next thing Jesus says: “Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.” Matthew 17:27 (NKJV)
Jesus wasn’t obligated to pay this tax, yet He understood that by not paying He was only creating more controversy than was necessary. So even though He didn’t have to, He makes provision to pay it in a miraculous way. Why? Because He understood a controversy like this wasn’t worth the offense it would create.
Our Lord didn’t walk around to be controversial. He wasn’t looking for opportunities to offend people. Every believer ought to take note of this and follow His example. Do what you can to steer clear of controversy. When it comes to non-essential issues, don’t fan the flames but do your part to put them out. Have a great day family of God, and do your best to represent our Lord.