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“I Will Make You Fishers of Money” (Matthew 17:24-27)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

As my sons grow up, they are discovering what it means to be a son of a pastor. One of my boys asked one time, “Dad, what do other kids’ daddies do for a job?” As if pastoring was the only job for a man. Also, once in a while, they’ll say something like, “Well, my dad is the pastor!” Or, they’ll say, “Dad, you’re the pastor; why don’t you just do what you want to do.” I have to explain to them what it means to be humble and wise when you are serving in a position of authority, or when your father is in a position of authority.

In our weird story today, we’re going to hear Jesus speak about sons of a king and how they are treated because their father is in charge of all things.

So, let’s pray together, and then we’ll dive into this passage.


First, let’s give a little context for this story. Jesus has called His disciples, and they are ministering through Israel. Their base of operation is Capernaum. So, anytime they go to Capernaum, all eyes are on them. Oftentimes, people will question them or try to trap them in some controversy while they are there. So, that gives you a little background to this passage.

Ok. Let’s read the passage. Look at Matthew 17:24-27:

24 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”

25 “Yes,” he said.

When he went into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tariffs or taxes? From their sons or from strangers?”

26 “From strangers,” he said.

“Then the sons are free,” Jesus told him. 27 “But, so we won’t offend them, go to the sea, cast in a fishhook, and take the first fish that you catch. When you open its mouth you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to them for me and you.”

Today’s sermon is entitled, “I Will Make You Fishers of Money.”

Of course, this is a play off of what Jesus said when He called His disciples, when He said, “I will make you fishers of men.”

Obviously, this sermon is not about gaining money. Well, what is this weird story about? I’m glad you asked.

First, let’s discover that we must . . .

‌I. Remember the Master.

One beautiful truth that comes out of this weird story from the Bible is that we serve the King!

Our God is Master of all of the universe!

We must maintain that truth in our hearts and in our minds.

The Bible paints a very clear picture that we should honor those in authority, even when we don’t agree with them.

We should honor our parents. We should honor our bosses. We should honor our elected officials. We should honor our pastors. Why? Because the one who is in ultimate authority (God) has commanded that we do so.

However, we should never forget, we know who is really in charge around here!

He is the King of kings! He is the Lord of lords! He is the Alpha and the Omega! He is Master of all.

We belong to the King! We belong to Jesus!

The exchange between Jesus and Simon Peter in verses 25 and 26 makes it very clear that we are children of the King, and the children of the King shouldn’t have to pay for the King’s home (which is what the Temple tax was).

Look again at verses 25 and 26:

“What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tariffs or taxes? From their sons or from strangers?” “From strangers,” he said. “Then the sons are free,” Jesus told him.

The children of the King are free! Ultimately, we don’t owe anything to anyone because we are children of the Master.

So, we must remember the Master.

Second, we must . . .

‌II. Remember the mission.

Even though we only owe our allegiance to the Master, even though we only owe anything to our King, the Master has given us a mission.

Among other things, God has told us repeatedly through His Word not to cause trouble and stir up rebellion just for the sake of causing problems.

Romans 13:1 says, “Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.”

Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

1 Thessalonians 4:11 says, “ . . . seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business . . .”

1 Peter 3:15-16, “ . . . but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet do this with gentleness and reverence, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame.”

Jesus said in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

So, church, we must remember the mission.

Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, that we are to go and make disciples.

Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that we are to be His witnesses, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31 that the most important thing we can do is to love God and love others!

Church, there are a lot of things in this world that are important, but nothing is more important for the child of the Master, than the mission of the Master!

I enjoy college football, I enjoy sitting in the woods, I enjoy reading a good book, I enjoy driving in my old truck listening to music, I enjoy throwing a line in a lake, I enjoy watching movies, I enjoy my family, I enjoy church potlucks, but there’s nothing more important than the mission of God!

Jesus wanted Peter to know that they shouldn’t be caught up on whether or not they should pay the temple tax. Jesus said in verse 27, “But, so we won’t offend . . .”

Listen, church: It’s important that we get this. Jesus was not afraid of offending others. However, Jesus did not seek to offend for the sake of offense. Further, Jesus didn’t want to offend if it detracted from the mission.

There would be other times for Jesus and His followers when the mission actually caused offense. It will offend to say that people are sinners. It will offend to say that Jesus is the only way to God. It will offend to say that the Bible, though ancient, is powerful and true. We are not to avoid offense at all costs, but we are remember to the mission.

The mission of God must be more important than our politics, our preferences, our personalities, our professions, our protests, and our pleasure.

Sometimes we’re so distracted by making sure that everyone knows we are right and the world is wrong that we actually miss the opportunity to have any real impact in changing the world.

If you want people to feel the impact of God, then give the love of God and the truth of God. Give them Jesus! Give them the love of Jesus and give them the truth of Jesus.

Remember the mission!

Finally, . . .

‌III. Remember the miracle.

Church, this weird story is an absolute miracle.

I’ve caught a lot of fish in my life, but I’ve never caught one with a coin in its mouth. Furthermore, I’ve certainly never had someone tell me ahead of time that the first fish I will catch will have a coin in its mouth and then it came to be true.

I like to go fishing with my buddy Don Scarbrough, one of our deacons. While fishing with Don, I’ve caught turtles, I’ve got pieces of metal, I’ve caught sticks, and I even caught a fish that had one of my plastic worms in its mouth from a previous cast. However, I’ve never done something like what’s described in this story.

Listen, church: King Jesus is sovereignly in control of everything in the universe.

Jesus raises the dead, Jesus created the earth with His spoken Word, Jesus saves sinners, Jesus gives sight to the blind, Jesus softens hardened hearts, and Jesus can cause a fish to have a coin in its mouth and then sovereignly guide Peter’s fishing line right to that fish.

The apostle John says of Jesus in John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.”

Catch this: Jesus was a miracle worker, and He is still a miracle worker. We must remember the miracle!

God knows everything that you need, and He will never abandon you.

He wants you to remember that He is Master and King, He wants you to remember His mission, and He wants you to remember that He is miraculous!

Paul tells us beautifully in Philippians 4:18 “ . . . And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Some have twisted this verse to mean that God is going to make us handsome, rich, and powerful. Well, that hasn’t worked for me yet.

God does not promise you the riches of this world. That’s pocket change when it comes to the riches of God, anyway.

You don’t need the pocket change that this world offers. You need the riches of God, in glory, in Christ Jesus!

You need love, peace, life, and grace, which is only found in the miraculous power of Jesus!

Remember the miracle.

Our God is miraculous. That takes us to our bottom line:

‌Bottom Line: Our loyalty is to a miraculous God with a miraculous mission.

Remember to whom you belong, and remember why you are here on this earth.

We have a God who loves us powerfully, and He has left us with a powerful mission.

Let us not be distracted; let us be focused!

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

‌Weekly Challenge #1 – Identify the mission of God.

Can you identify the mission of God? Boy, I sure hope you can if you have come to this church for more than a couple of weeks.

Take some time this week to see if you can identify the mission of God.

‌Weekly Challenge #2 – Ask yourself if you are on mission.

What are you doing with your life?

Are you focused on what really matters? Are you fighting for a certain political reality? Are you fighting to get your preferences met? Are you trying to preserve tradition? Are you seeking to become rich, beautiful, and powerful?

Or, are you on mission for the Master?

Challenge yourself to answer that question this week.

(Gospel presentation)

The Master was on mission to miraculously save you.

(closing prayer)

Response Song – Jesus Paid it All

(Announcements – Matt)

(Giving emphasis – two fairly new members who said God is changing their lives)


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