Matthew 17:22-27 A Recipe for Life


Recipes are handed down from generation to generation passing on some valuable information on how to cook that favorite dish. More importantly  these words need to be handed down to every generation.

Step One: 1 Cup of Repetition

Jesus repeatedly told them what would happen to Him and although they did not understand fully it did not deter Him from repeating the same message until they got it. In Matthew 16:21 we see Jesus trying to explain this to them and it was not what they wanted to hear but what they needed to hear.

With our children we have to share things with them  that they do not get right away but  hopefully later they will understand. This same thing happens as we read the Bible and although we may not understand everything as we read it as we continue in our growth as Christians some things will become more clear to us.

Repetition is the only way people get good at something (Muscle Memory)

“About to be delivered”: Jesus was explaining what was getting ready to take place.

What is worth saying, is worth repeating

Deuteronomy 6:6-9  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

And they were filled with grief

Explaining life to our children is important even when the news is negative. Repetition is applied in sports and school for teaching and we cannot be concerned about saying the important things too much, especially when it come to eternal matters. We have a tendency to protect them, and yes everything has to be age appropriate, but sometimes the difficult challenges  in life must be talked about.

Life does not always end like the end of a Disney movie.

The disciples envisioned life ending with them being put in a position of power. (We will see in Chapter 20 that a mother approached Jesus about her sons reigning with Him.) Jesus had to talk with them and show them that life was going to end very differently than they envisioned.

“Jesus understood their slow comprehension (Luke 24:25) as well as their small faith (Matt. 17:20) and realized that they needed repeated reminders, especially about truths that not only were hard to understand but painful to accept.” John MacArthur

Step Two: Add 2 Teaspoons of Honesty

We do not know if Jesus overheard Peter’s discussion or supernaturally knew about it but when Jesus saw Peter He asked him about it. One of the best ways to train is to ask questions because it makes the person engage in what is being taught.

The temple tax was a tax that was backed by the Roman government to help keep the temple going. According to Historical writer Josephus they had so much money for the temple that they had to find ways to spend it. The tax was established in Nehemiah 10:32-33 but some thought it should be voluntary and not forced. After the destruction of the temple in AD 70 the Romans forced them to keep paying the tax but it went to a pagan temple.

Peter answered yes to the tax collectors and Jesus wanted him to know that they were going to pay it even though technically Jesus did not have to.

Matthew 5:33-37 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one

Your Yes should mean Yes and your No should mean No

Many in that day would make elaborate oaths that were confusing that they would break. It was the equivalent of making a promise but having our fingers crossed. It was so confusing that Jesus wanted His disciples to not participate in such practices.

Step Three:  Add 3 Tablespoons of Life Training

Read 17:24-26

The training we need to pass down is the training to live in this world. God did not call His followers to leave this world but to live in it.  This world is a difficult place to live and we need to get our children ready to deal with the difficulties in life and that includes the hard questions of life.

How much time do you spend preparing your child spiritually compared to academically and athletically?

What do you think?  Questions always engage the mind because and answer has to be given.

Before Jesus spoke He wanted Peter fully engaged and Peter had to listen because he knew he was going to have to respond. Jesus used questions many times to get people to think about what they believed and how they thought about life.

Where do Kings get their money? Life lesson number one is our responsibility to the government.

That’s a paraphrase but that is what Jesus was asking. Kings do not raise money from their own family but from other families. Some of this had to do with the Kings and their families not having to pay taxes. Jesus point was that although this is not our home we need to still do our part while we are here.

We have a responsibility to not allow the things of this earth to continue to drag us away from our true calling which is to share about Jesus Christ. We do not live in a society that was worse than the 1st century Christians and although we can see all the problems we need to do our part. As Americans we have unique opportunities to vote, protest, petition but all those things take a back seat to the gospel of Christ.

Romans 13:1-2 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

God allows evil governments to fulfill some purpose that goes beyond my understanding. We need to teach our children to respect authority because God has established all authority.  Yes there are bad politicians, Police officers but there are also bad pastors so I do not want to be lumped in with them. We need to be careful how we talk about our President, Law officials, and other people that govern us.

It is amazing how when we are in charge we want respect but we do not give it to those who are over us.

Romans 13:6-7 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

1 Peter 2:13-17  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Not to offend: Life Lesson number two is our responsibility to others around us.

This does not mean that we will not offend but do not offend on matters that are not important.

We have to train our children that it is not about them, their way and their rights all the time.

Philippians 2:5-8 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself  by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Christianity is a death march

To take up your cross was to make the walk to your death. For us as Christians we need to remember that we have died to ourselves and we exist for God.

We have to train our kids when it is time to obey the government and when it is time to disobey the government. When it is time to speak up and when it is time to be quiet.

Acts 4:18-19 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!

Many Christians lost their lives because they would not worship Caesar as a god. They would honor him but they would not worship him.

Step Four: Add four pounds of relying on God

Read 17:27

Jesus commanded Peter to go fishing and when he did it was the exact amount needed to pay the Temple Tax for Peter and Jesus.

Does God know your taxes that you are forced to pay?

Does God see what is being done to you unfairly?

When we rely on God we get to live in peace that passes understanding but we also get to see Him provide in unusual ways.

How we react to daily life shows our trust in God

Matthew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

This is not a prayer for abundance but a prayer for the needs we have. Some of our prayers may not be answered because we have more than we need or God is teaching us something through it. Sometimes God allows us to go without so we can appreciate what we already have.

We are called to Plead in Prayer and Persist in Faith.

This does not mean that if you pray you will always get what you want but it does show that you are trusting God for the end results to be exactly what they need to be.



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