Thou Shalt Find A Piece of Money
Matthew 17:27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
Intro: I enjoy fishing, especially with my kids. I have some great fishing stories to tell.
(Illustrations: fishing with my Papa in South Georgia, catching a hammer-head shark in Samoa, catching nothing in Africa and eating ostrich meat hot dogs instead, catching shark with Callie in Savannah GA, deep sea fishing with the boys in Steinhatchee FL catching red snapper and grouper.
But here’s a fish story that tops any fish story I’ve ever heard!
I. The Fall of the Money
A. The Image on the Money
- The sea is the type of the world
- The fish is a type of Christ
ΙΧΘΥΣ (Greek word for fish is Ichthys) is an acronym for “Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ”, (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr), which translates into English as “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior”. The fish was the universal sign of Christianity
- The money is the type of man – it had the image of a man engraved on it.
The money was a a stater, a Roman silver coin of the value of four drachms, or one shekel, and of course sufficient to pay the tribute for two
B. The Intentions for the Money
It was created to be used and spent; to increase the value of its owner
C. The Indiscretion with the Money
Someone was careless, and their lack of attention resulted in the money falling into the sea.
It got NEAR the sea, and through carelessness, it ended up FALLING into the sea.
- Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
II. The Finding of the Money
A. The Plight of the Money
1. Its Location
Due to its nature, it fell as far as it could go. It went to the bottom.
It was in a foreign location; somewhere it was never supposed to end up.
2. It was Lost
It was in a place where it was not created to be; so nobody knew to look for it there.
It didn’t belong there; it was fearfully and wonderfully made; but not for the bottom of the sea
3. It was Lifeless
The money was lifeless; dead; incapable of doing anything about its condition.
It could not fight the power of the sea; it succumbed to its overwhelming power.
The nature of the money made it impossible for it to survive the fall.
- Eph. 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
B. The Pursuit of the Money
The only hope for this piece of money was for somebody who recognized its value to come looking for it.
It needed somebody to come to where it was and see its plight!
It was at the mercy of the Seeker!
- Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
NOTE: The money was worthless to the fish; it sought it for someone else.
- John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
III. The Freeing of the Money
A. Involved a Saving
The money was unable to save itself: didn’t even know it was lost
The money attracted the attention of the fish; something about it appealed to him.
The fish went to where the money was; the money couldn’t come to him.
The fish reached down further than the money could reach up.
The fish had to stoop to the depths of the money’s plight in order to save it.
- Phil. 2: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The fish scooped up that lost money in its mouth.
The power of the fish’s mouth was the only hope that money had to be saved.
B. Involved a Sacrifice
This is the only place in the Bible that a fish is caught with a hook.
Everywhere else fish were caught with nets.
A net signifies a trap or a fish being caught contrary to its wish.
For a fish to be caught with a hook, it had to CHOOSE to take it; no man taketh it from him.
- John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
There was no mention of BAIT – just a hook.
Jesus wasn’t the victim of trickery or deceit; there was no lure; just a plain hook.
He knew that the ONLY way to save that lost money was to TASTE OF DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.
- Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
C. Involved a Shedding
That hook that was taken voluntarily produced pain and suffering.
Its decision to save that money resulted in the shedding of its blood.
- Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
When Peter reached down and took that money out of the fish’s mouth, he had to bring it through the blood in order to save it from the world.
SONG: Some through the water, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood!
A. The Money was Cleaned
The first thing he did was to wash it and clean it up. It was a mess!!
- Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
B. The Money was Carried
Then Peter carried it up to the Temple to pay the Temple tax.
NOTE: The first place God takes a regenerated sinner is to the house of God!
- Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
C. The Money was Changed
Since this piece of money was a Roman coin, the first thing that had to be done at the Temple was it had to be converted over into Jewish money.
The Temple Tax couldn’t be paid with Roman money!
It went through a process called “currency conversion”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
REMINDER: That was what the money changers were supposed to do in the Temple. Instead, they were ripping people off, in essence short-changing them instead of changing them.
D. The Money was Circulated
After it was cleaned, and changed, it then could be used to pay a debt.
- Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
GET THIS KEY MORAL TO THE STORY:
This passage of scripture is not drawing attention to what the Savior did for the piece of money – it’s about the piece of money doing something for the Savior!!!
We can get excited and shout and run the aisles over the fact that we’ve been saved from the sea of sin and changed and in church and sanctified, but the question remains – what are we doing for the Master? Are we being USED to meet a need that HE has???
This story is a perfect example of Christ’s love for fallen man, and His sacrificial death for man’s atonement.
Question: Have you ever been born again, saved by the grace of God? Or are you still lost in sin, in need of a loving Savior to rescue you from a life you were not created to live?