Why did our Lord Jesus ask St. Peter to catch a fish to find and pay the taxes on money that he did not originally have?
This incident is mentioned in the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew 17:24-27.
Our Lord did not have the money to pay the taxes. Our Lord was poor (2 Cor 8:9). He lived on donations (Lk 8:3). He did not take money from the bag which Judas carried for that money was for subsistence and was intended for the benefit of the community not for His own personal use or to pay tax from it.
The Lord wanted to teach us several lessons from this miracle.
- We should always pay our taxes. This particular tax was for the Temple not for the government. As Christ is the Lord of the Temple He should not have paid this tax but He has given us an example that we should always obey the system.
- The Lord could have come up with that money by any other way; but He intentionally made St. Peter work for it, because He did not want to give St. Peter money that he hadn't worked for.
- Christ has revealed to us His divinity, His omnipotence and omniscience in his dominion over the fish of the sea and the miracle of finding the money in the first fish caught.
- St. Peter's faith is a great example for us. He did not argue but obeyed the Lord. The work we do at the Lord's command brings us blessings.
- The money in the fish was just enough to pay the tax for Christ and St. Peter. The lesson here is that The Lord provides us with our needs. We should always be content and trust that as long as we follow Him, He will grant us enough for our daily requirements.