An Audience of One
by Judy Webb
Like me, you have most likely read these verses before, but perhaps didn’t give much thought to them. The subject matter of taxes maybe turned your mind off without considering what was transpiring. Now, I am reading a bit deeper – why not join me? We can recognize a miracle when someone is healed from a debilitating sickness, or when our Lord feeds 5,000 people without breaking a sweat, not to mention filling a boat to overflowing while nets are popping at the seams, but pulling a coin from the mouth of one fish? Not so overwhelming at first glance.
“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” (Matthew 17:27)
To this point, Jesus has performed many miracles for the crowds to see and experience, but this time he accomplished a miracle for the benefit of one man, Simon. Why? I am not sure, but I have a few ideas. Have you ever asked for a miracle for yourself? Maybe you know it would take an act of God, a miracle, to save your life, or perhaps your marriage. If you believed God only provided miracles if there were a large audience present, would you ask or pray for one for yourself?
In this instance I am wondering if God didn’t achieve this miracle for Peter’s benefit, to strengthen his faith knowing what lie ahead for both of them. This is just supposition, but it does get the mind to thinking outside the box. Jesus wasn’t limited then or now to the type of love he shares to us; the miracles he is still ready to provide.
Pulling a coin for a specified amount, from the mouth of a specific fish (the first fish he caught), indicates to me that Jesus knew which one of all the fish in the Sea of Galilee had the coin in its mouth. He knew the location of that one fish, and he knew it would be the first one Peter caught. This verse alone gives me hope and trust that God will answer my prayers and use a miracle to do if it is his will. Amazing!
Jesus, thank you for all you do for us, each and every day. Knowing all we need to do is ask and believe we can have faith and confidence our prayers are heard. Your timing and your will are perfect. Thank you, Jesus.