ESV - 25 He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?
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I would say that Jesus did, in fact, pay the temple tax (as indicated by His instruction to Peter in Matthew 17:24-27 to pay the tax for both Peter and Him by using the coin that Peter would find in the mouth of the fish that Jesus instructed him to catch). The point that Jesus was making to Peter was that His followers (because they had been made "citizens" of the Kingdom of Heaven by placing their faith in Him) owed their primary allegiance to God ahead of any earthly ruler. They thus had had no obligation such as the termple tax (a "human" tax, even if levied in God's name) placed on them by God. However (as Jesus also noted) Christians have a duty to respect and obey (in order not "to give offense to") civil and temporal authorities, including tax payments, which (as Jesus said in Mark 12:13-17) should be made to those to whom they are due. This same point was later reiterated by Paul in Romans 13:6-7.
I have often wondered if someone was fishing and accidentally dropped that coin into the water, and the fish, thinking it was food, opened his mouth and inhaled it. Or was the coin created by Jesus seconds before Peter caught the fish? I suspect someone dropped the coin into the water. The reason I think this is Jesus never performed a miracle that benefited himself personally.
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