51 – Authority in The Kindom
Where: Capernaum, Galilee
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Leaving the area around Mount Tabor very early the next morning, Jesus led the disciples on a rapid twenty-five mile journey through Galilee. He wanted to get to Capernaum immediately, and thus did not plan on stopping along the way. He now knew what must be done, and hurried to Capernaum to prepare.
While they walked, the disciples discussed the coming Kingdom, where they would rule the world under the authority of Jesus. But which of them would have the greater authority among themselves? Would it be the first to accept the call to discipleship [Andrew and Nathanael]? Would it be the three that made up the “inner circle” [Peter, James, and John]? Would it be the trusted treasurer [Judas Iscariot]? At times the discussion got a bit heated (and loud), and Jesus decided to address the problem back in Capernaum.
Peter forged ahead as they approached Capernaum. He wanted to prepare his wife for their return. But as Peter approached Capernaum he was confronted by a tax collector who’s job it was to collect the “temple tax”. Every male twenty or older was expected to pay the annual one-half shekel [two days earnings], in cash, for the support of the temple. Moses began this tax after the Exodus.
When Jesus arrived, Peter explained that he had been asked whether or not Jesus would pay the tax. Jesus explained to Peter that they were true children of God and were free from paying the tax in support of a temple cult that was corrupt [just as Nehemiah had encountered] and that would cease to exist. ‘The children of God have authority in the kingdom, not the temple cult’, Jesus said. However, they would pay the tax anyway.
So Jesus sent Peter to the lake. Peter cast in a baited hook and caught a fish. In the mouth of the fish was a shekel coin. Peter took it and paid for both Jesus and himself.
When Peter returned, Jesus gathered the disciples around him in the courtyard of Peter’s home. When Jesus asked what they were arguing about on the road, they did not want to answer. So Jesus got up, went into the street, and called a neighbor’s three-year old child to come in for a moment. Kneeling beside the child, Jesus told the disciples that they needed to trust “like a child”, doing what is asked even if they lacked understanding.
When the child had gone, the disciple John wondered about the relationship between the disciples, and those who did not travel with them but still spoke and acted in God’s name. So Jesus spent the afternoon speaking of the new relationships that were established because of the coming Kingdom.
Jesus spoke about how to relate to God [and how to handle temptation], how to relate to the simple believers [that needed care], how to relate to each other [as servants], and how to handle disagreements [to forgive] and to see that justice is done among believers.
No questions have been asked yet.