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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012



MATTHEW 17:24-27

APRIL 18, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Jesus went down to Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee because He was rejected at His hometown at Nazareth. They were filled with wrath at His teaching, and led Him to the brow of the hill to throw Him down headlong. But He, passing through the midst, went His way.

It was at Capernaum when He went into Peter’s house and found Peter’s mother-in-law sick of a fever. He touched her hand and straightway she arose and ministered unto them. And when evening was come they brought unto Him many possessed with demons, and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all that were sick.

And then something went wrong. In Matthew 11:20 the Apostle says, “Then began Jesus to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not. And thou Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted into heaven? Thou shall go down into Hades: for if the mighty works had been done in Sodom, that were done in thee, it would have remained unto this day. But I say unto you it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment than for thee.”

And then among all those great miracles done at Capernaum, Matthew records the event when Jesus sent Peter to go to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a shekel: this take, and give unto them for Me and thee. Now let us take a look at that fish.


There were a lot of things that Jesus did not have to do, but He did anyway. One day Peter met some tax collectors who asked if his Master paid the half-shekel. He saith, “Yea.” The half-shekel was a small tax around twenty-five cents in our money that was paid every year by every Jewish male for the upkeep of the tabernacle.

When Peter came back to the house, Jesus spoke first to him saying, “What thinkest thou, Simon? The kings of the earth, from whom do they receive toll or tribute? from their sons, or from strangers?” And when he said, "From strangers," Jesus said unto him, "Therefore the sons are free.” At that point He told Peter to catch the fish, take the coin, and pay the tax. Jesus did not have to pay the tax, but He did it anyway.

And there was another reason the Lord was exempt from paying the tax. He said in John one, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days,” but He was speaking of the temple of His body. How can the Temple pay tax for the Temple?

Then there was something else that Jesus did not have to do, but did anyway. In Heaven there was an innumerable host of angels, Seraphims and Cherubims, standing ready to carry out His slightest command; so why should He come to earth where men would spit on Him, call Him a liar, crown Him with thorns, scourge Him, drive nails through His hands and feet, and pierce His side with a spear? He did not have to come down into this world and endure all of that and more, but He did it anyway.

He did it anyway, and died on the cross, was buried, and arose on the third day. Then before He ascended back to Heaven, commissioned the Apostles to go unto all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be condemned. An example of the method of baptism is in Matthew 3:11 and 16, “I indeed baptize you in water.” And, “Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway from the water.” So Jesus paid the tax He did not have to pay, but paid it anyway. Now here is another reason for taking another look at that fish.


Peter was told to go to the sea and cast a hook and take up the fish that first comes up; but the story is unfinished. In no place do the writers of the New Testament actually say that he did it. However we have absolute proof that Peter actually did cast a hook and find the money in the mouth of the first fish he caught; because Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word shall not pass away.” So Peter obviously in fact did catch the fish, even though the conclusion of the event is not mentioned.

Actually there were other commands Jesus gave that have not been fulfilled even to this day. Jesus said, “If I go I come again, and will receive you unto Myself that where I am, there you shall be also.” This has not happened yet, but it will.

Many believe now that we are living in the time of the Lord’s return. However we felt the same way before World War II. He did not return then, and He may not return at this time.

I asked my preacher at that time, “How long do we have before the Lord returns?” He said, “A man makes a fool of himself trying to set the date of the Lord’s return.” I asked him again if he could make a guess. He said we might have about fifteen years before Jesus appears. I was glad to hear it. Fifteen years would give me a chance to get out there and do something. That fifteen-year period has passed by four times, and I am working on the fifth, and the Lord has not returned yet, but He will. Heaven and earth shall pass away but My Word shall not pass away.

I read a sermon, preached by Martin Luther in the year 1520, and he said the Lord would return in those days because we have invented the printing press and gunpowder. He was sure that is as far as man can go, and surely the Lord would return 600 years ago, and He has not come yet, but He will. It seems that every generation thinks they are living in the last days.

The Apostle Paul reminds us how the Christians at that time regarded the coming of the Lord in 1st Corinthians 16:31 with the word Maranatha; they often used that word as a greeting, “The Lord is coming.” Someone has expressed it in these lines:

Oh there is much to make us sad in this dark world of ours, the serpents trail is oft times seen amidst the fairest flowers. But we should never yield to grief, nor falling hopeless lie. We will fling our banner to the breeze, and Maranatha cry.

What though the hosts of hell are strong and bold in what they say. The Lord of hosts is on our side, and we are sure to win the day. The victor of the cross and tomb is seated now on high. We will fling our banner to the breeze, and Maranatha cry. And now let us take another look at the fish.


Another look at the fish indicates that the Lord is the God of supply. In Matthew ten, Jesus sent out the twelve Apostles to preach to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He told them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely you have received, freely give. Get you no gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses; no wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his hire.

Two years later in Luke 22:35, as the Lord was about to go into the Garden of Gethsemane He asked His Apostles, “When I sent you out without purse, and wallet, and shoes, lacked you anything?” And they said, “Nothing.”

They remembered that Jesus had been the God of supply. A short time after that when the Apostles stood with Jesus on the mountain in Galilee, when He gave them the orders for world conquest, no one asked Him about expenses. They knew if He could raise the dead, raising the money was a minor problem.

Another time Jesus proved He is the God of supply was when He was preaching to the multitudes standing by the seaside. He entered into Simon’s boat and put out a little from the land, sat down and spoke to the multitude out of the boat.

When He was through speaking, He told Peter to launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And when they had done this they enclosed a great multitude of fishes so that the nets were breaking.

Many times the Lord will use assistance in His working of miracles. Peter had to launch out into the deep, and let down the nets, and Jesus performed the miracle. At the resurrection of Lazarus in John eleven, Jesus said, “Roll away the stone.” They rolled away the stone, and Jesus said, “Come forth,” and Lazarus came forth bound hand and foot with grave clothes. Jesus said, “Loose him and let him go.”

In John nine, as Jesus passed by He saw a man blind from his birth, Jesus spat on the ground, made clay of the spittle, and anointed his eyes with the clay, and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam; he went away therefore and washed, and came seeing. Simon Peter had to go to the sea and cast the hook, and Jesus performed the miracle and put the coin in the fish’s mouth.

At the wedding feast at Cana when the wine failed, the servants had to fill the water pots with water, and they filled them up to the brim, then Jesus worked the miracle and changed the water into wine.

In Mark four, four men brought a man sick of the palsy to Jesus; and because of the crowd they broke up the roof, let the man down through the hole, and Jesus healed him.

Jesus can still work miracles with us today if we roll away all the stones, fill all the pots, wash our face in the pool of Siloam, make a hole in the roof, let down the nets, cast the hook, and launch out into the deep. If the Lord tells me to run across a room and jump through a hole in the wall, my job is run and jump, and God’s job is to open the hole in the wall.

The challenge is still there to the Church today in evangelism. Today we think of the deep-sea diver as he puts on his helmet, waterproof gear, his airlines are all in place and then he jumps overboard into three feet of water. That is the way the Church does it today as they piddle around in the shallow end of the swimming pool. Launch out into the deep. The challenge is still there.

Launch out into the deep in prayer. Jesus sets the example in Luke 6:12, “And it came to pass, in these days, that He went out into the mountain and prayed, and He continued all night in prayer to God.” It was the next day that He called His disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named Apostles. In a similar manner much prayer must be prayed before we make any important decision.

Then again there are some prayers we have no business praying. Lord, what color car shall I buy, green or red? Matthew 20:20 is a good example also, “The mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus and asked that her two sons, James and John, may sit one on Thy right hand, and one on Thy left hand in Your kingdom. Jesus told her; to sit on My right hand, and on My left hand, is not Mine to give; but it is for them for whom it has been prepared of My Father.”

In Acts ten, another example of prayer is Peter praying in the city of Joppa. It was about the sixth hour and He went up on the housetop to pray. He became hungry and desired to eat, and while they made ready he fell into a trance; a great sheet was let down out of Heaven held up by four corners. There was a message for Peter at that time.

It is enough for us to know that God is still letting down sheets for us. Every page of the inspired Word of God is a sheet let down from Heaven. Open the Bible anywhere and you will see on that sheet the will of God for your life. There are several sheets that will explain your responsibility regarding the plan of salvation, and the life-style of the Christian. Then there are sheets where you may find directions regarding the importance of the Lord’s Supper. Then there are sheets that instruct us about Heaven, the Judgment Day and hell. Now let us take one more look at the fish.


Look at that last statement of Jesus in Matthew as we take one more look at the fish. We already knew that Jesus did not have to give the shekel, but gave anyway, but here is something different about the statement, “for me and thee.” “Peter, you pay the tax, and I will go along with you to support you.” Jesus stands by us in all the Christian life to support us.

Jesus did not come to earth by rocket or parachute. He got here the same way we got here, by birth. In Matthew 1:23 the Apostle tells us, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel: which is being interpreted, God with us.” When Jesus was on earth He did not live in an ivory castle shut off from the temptations of mortal man. That is why He was called Immanuel, God with us.

When Jesus was on earth there was no heavenly gift where He never hungered as the rest of mankind. He could fast forty days, and hunger like the rest of us, because His name was Immanuel, God with us.

When Jesus was on earth there was no special gift that made Him immune from thirst. He could say to a woman, “Give me to drink”, and thirsted like the rest of us because His name was Immanuel, God with us.

When Jesus was on earth there was no immortality on this planet. He had to die like the rest of us. Hebrews 2:8 informs us, “But we behold Him made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He should taste of death for every man.” Immanuel, God with us.

According to Romans six, “All we who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death.” When we were buried in the water we were not buried alone. Jesus went with us as we were buried with Him through baptism into death that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also might walk with Him in newness of life. His name is called Immanuel, God with us.

Mankind has a dream of going to Heaven. That dream is fulfilled by the same way it was for Jesus; He ascended. Luke 24:51 tells us, “And it came to pass while He blessed them, He departed and was carried up into Heaven.” For us it will be the same. First Thessalonians 4:16 says, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive unto His coming, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” His name is Immanuel, God with us.

And now you have heard some of the gospel truths by looking at the fish. But it is always good to end every message with the solemn warning of the Lord Jesus on the last page of the Word of God. Hear Him now, “I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies these things saith, Yea: I come quickly.” Then John adds his benediction to the Word of God, “Amen: come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints, AMEN.”