Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Ch «Pg   Pg» Ch» Next Pub.» Forward»

Humble Hero, Page 201

Who Is the Greatest?

This chapter is based on Matthew 17:22-27; 18:1-20; Mark 9:30-50; Luke 9:46-48.

Returning to Capernaum, Jesus quietly went to the house that was to be His temporary home. During the rest of His stay in Galilee, He intended to instruct the disciples rather than labor for the crowds.

Christ had told them again that He would be put to death and rise again. And He added that He would be betrayed into the hands of His enemies. The disciples did not comprehend His words even now. Although the shadow of a great sorrow came over them, they argued among themselves about who would be greatest in the kingdom. They tried to conceal this strife from Jesus. He read their thoughts and longed to counsel them, but He waited for a quiet time to do this, when their hearts would be open to receive His words.

Soon after they reached town, the collector of the temple revenue questioned Peter, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” This religious contribution every Jew was required to pay each year. A refusal to pay would be a grievous sin, in the opinion of the rabbis. Now Jesus’ enemies saw an opportunity to discredit Him. They found a ready ally in the collector of the tax.

Zealous for his Master’s honor, Peter was quick to answer that Jesus would pay the tax. But some classes were exempt from paying the tax. The priests and Levites, still considered to be especially devoted to the temple, were not required to make the annual contribution for its support. Prophets also were exempt. In requiring the tax from Jesus, the rabbis were setting aside His claim as a prophet and were dealing with Him as with any ordinary person. If He refused to pay, they would represent this as disloyalty to the temple. On the other hand, if He paid, they would take this as justifying their rejection of Him as a prophet. Peter’s answer to the collector virtually endorsed the false idea that the priests and rulers were trying to promote.

When Peter entered the house, the Savior made no reference to what had taken place, but inquired, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” Peter answered, “From strangers.” And Jesus said, “Then the sons are free.” While

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Ch «Pg   Pg» Ch» Next Pub.» Forward»