BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 18, Day 5: Matthew 17:22-27

Summary of passage:  After Jesus descended the mountain, he gathered the disciples together in Galilee and told them he is going to be betrayed, killed, and raised again.  The disciples were full of grief.  Then they traveled to Capernaum where tax collectors asked Peter if Jesus paid the temple tax.  Peter replied yes.  Then Jesus asked him if he needed to pay the tax since he is the son of a king.  Peter (I think still slow to get this) said no and then Jesus told Peter to go catch a fish which will have a gold coin in it for the tax.


12a)  Because they were up on the mountain with Jesus and overheard his conversation with Elijah and Moses who were talking about Jesus’ forthcoming death and resurrection (Luke 9:30-31).

b)  Because they were filled with grief.  Before they had been in denial and thought he was joking.  Now they realize it will be true.

c)  Honestly, I can’t say either way.  We are not given enough information here in Matthew to conclude such an inference.  Mark, however, tells us outright that they didn’t understand what Jesus meant and were afraid to ask him about it (Mark 9:32).  Luke tells us that “they did not understand what this meant.  It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it (Luke 9:45).

Hence, I would say nothing in Matthew reveals this but Mark and Luke do.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Again, not sure I have experienced the same kind of grief as I have never been told a loved one of mine is about to be killed or is dying.  However, there have been many times in my life I have been frustrated, angry, sad, confused, and dumbfounded because I couldn’t see God’s purpose in my circumstances.  Most of these have to do with money.  But as I’ve gotten older I put more and more of my faith in God and what He is doing in my life so the “grief” which is not the word I’d use is lessened.  I’d call it more frustration and anxiety than anything else.

13a)  It is atonement money, to atone for their lives.  It was used for the service of the Tent of Meeting and as as memorial for the Israelites before the Lord.

b)  Personally, I thought this was just weird but I think Jesus used it as another example of his power over all things and how anything is possible with belief in him.  Also, this shows God’s provision for all His people, including His Son.  Jesus relied on the Father; therefore, so must we.

Conclusions:  Not sure why BSF did not send us back to Mark and Luke for 12c where this is stated clearly for Matthew leaves out that detail.

It’s hard to interpret “filled with grief”.  For what is grief?  The definition is “suffering, distress; deep and poignant distress cause by bereavement; sorrow” but grief looks different for every person.  Thus, it’s hard to say from Matthew if they got it for their grief could have been so deep over it all.  One could argue that they would be joyous because Jesus is dying for their sins.  But is death every joyous?  Not for loved ones left behind as is the case in the disciples.  They are losing their friend, teacher, and leader and I’m sure the depth of love between them all would be hard to imagine.

I know you are supposed to be joyful that Jesus died for our sin but the fact he had to die for our sins is sad to me.  I can’t imagine watching it happen before my eyes; seeing him beaten and tortured and hung on a cross–suffering for my inadequacy.  I can understand the disciples sorrow here and that is why inferring they didn’t understand from sorrow to me would be a stretch if Mark and Luke hadn’t have outright said so.

Thus, to me, Jesus’ death is both sad and joyful like death of believers who are going to a better place today.  I would bet sorrow trumps joyfulness especially right after death for most people.

The temple tax supported the temple and the worship services.

Map of Capernaum and Galilee:  I liked this simple map I found showing the whole region of Galilee:

End Notes: We can use the temple tax collection as a way to date the Bible because the temple tax was collected either at Passover or about a month earlier depending on where you lived.  So Jesus has about one month to live.

Only men paid this tax.  Note also once the temple was destroyed in AD 70 the money was still collected but went to Rome instead.

Rabbis were exempted from this tax as was princes (Jesus) but he paid it anyways to avoid controversy.

Note Jesus who didn’t owe anything paid anyways and paid for Peter.  See any parallels here?  Jesus paid for us when he didn’t have to.

This story is found only in the Book of Matthew and we all know Matthew himself was a tax collector, which makes sense why it was recorded only here by him.

I tried to discover more background on this story for you all but every thing I read was a speculation and contradicted each other.  Thus, I decided to leave it stand as is and take the simplistic road.


2 thoughts on “BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 18, Day 5: Matthew 17:22-27

  1. On 12 c – I think the fact that they were “filled” with grief shows they didn’t understand the part about him raising from the dead, victory over sin & death, etc.


  2. Also, on 13b I think Jesus not only demonstrated that he was their provider hut ibelueve he was also revealing that HE is the atonement for their lives. Just opinion. It would makes sense I think.


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