I can’t tell how many times I have been out for a meal or dessert and a friendly exchange takes place over who was going to pay.  Sometimes I would prevail, sometimes those with me would, and sometimes it would be agreed upon beforehand that each would bear their own expense.  Some of these exchanges would get absolutely comical as one would go to extremes to “get his hand on the check.”  Isn’t that the way it is oftentimes among Christians?  Our desire to demonstrate our love and kindness for each another overrides the fleshly characteristic of selfishness.  This event bears some similarity to an occurrence recorded in Matthew chapter 17.

As Jesus addressed the issue of taxation among the taxed, He reviewed that subjects and sojourners (strangers) were taxed, not the sons of the kings.  But this is not my focus on this text.  What I want to impress upon you is the payment of the tax.  Jesus said that even though He was exempt, He would avoid giving offense to others by paying the tax.  In verse 27 we read, “But, lest we give them offense, go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a stater. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”  While the means of obtaining the payment was amazing, the stater payment was enough to cover both Jesus and Peter.

We need to realize without doubt that Jesus pays our way, covers our costs in the most important area of all.  No He doesn’t directly pay our tax or pick up the tab for our meals, but the blessings of all we have did come from Him.  The payment He did make that should draw our undivided attention is the payment for our sins.  The punishment He endured on the cross of was not to cover Himself but rather everyone who turns to Him for salvation. 

The next time you pick up the check for someone, think about Jesus and Him picking up the check for paying the bill for our sins.  Jesus made a payment that we could not possibly ever pay.  Thanks be to God for His incomprehensible love!

Copyright © 2003, Nolan P. Rutter

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