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Matthew 17 Metaphysical Bible Interpretation

Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Matthew Chapter 17

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 17:24-27

17:24And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received the half-shekel came to Peter, and said, Doth not your teacher pay the half-shekel? 17:25He saith, Yea. And when he came into the house, Jesus spake first to him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? the kings of the earth, from whom do they receive toll or tribute? from their sons, or from strangers? 17:26And when he said, From strangers, Jesus said unto him, Therefore the sons are free. 17:27But, lest we cause them to stumble, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a shekel: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
JUNE 20, 1971: Matt. 17:24-27; John 21:1-8


UNITY Interprets a Living BIBLE LESSON

Prepared by MARY MAE OESCH

In Matthew's Gospel reference is made to a half-shekel tax imposed on every male resident of each town. When Peter was asked by a tax collector whether his Master would pay the tax, Peter replied in the affirmative. It was customary for people to be taxed in their native towns only, and travelers or transients (such as Jesus and His apostles) often escaped payment. So Jesus indicated to Peter that they might easily "get by" without paying. Also as sons of the divine King of kings, the apostles might feel that they owed no tax to earthly kings. However, Jesus chose to pay the tax and told Peter how to get the money.

When Jesus told Peter that he would find the money in a fish's mouth, He was using a typical figure of speech. What He meant was: You are a fisherman by trade. Earn the money by catching a fish and selling it, then pay the tax for both of us.

At a later time, shortly after the Resurrection, Jesus appeared unexpectedly to His apostles. Peter and John and others of the apostles had been fishing all night in the Sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee). At dawn someone called from the shore and asked whether the men had caught any fish. When they answered no, they were told to cast their net on the right side of the boat. The men did so, and brought up so many fish that they could not haul them all into the big boat.

Until that time no one had recognized the stranger on the dimly lighted shore. But suddenly John knew that they had been advised by Jesus. Peter, in his eagerness to reach Jesus, did not wait for the boat to bring him ashore, but plunged into the water and swam quickly to land. (How typical of faith to dive right in with enthusiasm!) The other apostles brought in the boat, happily dragging the net heavy with fish.

Our Practical Application

"Cast the net on the right side of the boat." Anyone interested in gaining success in any field can benefit by Charles Fillmore's explanation of Jesus' words: In Mysteries of John, we read: "Man's mind is the net that catches thoughts, which are the basis of external conditions. The sea is the mental realm in which man exists. Toil of all kinds is a combination of mental and physical exertion. When the mind is exalted toil is easy. By using his mind man invents machinery that relieves him from wearying muscular labor. In a larger way the spiritual man uses his mind and takes advantage of divine guidance, to lighten his toil.

"The net of man's thought works hard and long in the darkness of human understanding and gains but little, but once the Christ mind is perceived and obeyed the net is cast on the 'right side,' and success follows. The 'right side' is the side on which man realizes the truth that inexhaustible resources are always present and can be made manifest by those who exercise their faith in that direction."

One man who tried desperately to succeed at his work finally concluded that he was failing because he was doing work he did not like and for which he had no aptitude. When he "cast the net on the right side" by changing to work he enjoyed, he did well, success came easily and naturally.

Another man had trouble keeping a job because he failed to get along with people. His problem was solved when he "cast the net on the right side" by learning to look for the good qualities in others. When he took the chip off his shoulder and approached others in a friendly, cooperative way, he succeeded in his work.

Have you tried long and hard to solve a problem, yet you are still floundering in deep waters of indecision? Try again, and "cast the net on the right side"—the positive side where you know that a higher-than-human wisdom provides the answer. Make your mind receptive to a better answer than you could possibly have dreamed up all by yourself. Then act upon whatever divine ideas come to you.

There is no limit to the divine ideas that are available to all of us. Get the right ideas and put them to work. Success and abundance of good are sure to follow.

Questions and Answers

What do fish represent to us? "Fish represent ideas in which there is great possibility of increase. Jesus used these ideas to represent the inexhaustible, everywhere present abundance."

Why were fish so often used to illustrate Jesus' teachings? "The reason Jesus so often used fish to illustrate His teaching is that He was a living demonstration of ideas, and all that He did was in the realm of ideas rather than in the realm of effects."

What Seek Ye? By Don Buck

Do you remember the story of the boy who, trudging along with his head down, found a half-dollar? And how he thereafter went through life —looking down? What a multitude of blessings he missed!

All too often we get a small but heady whiff of such secondary values as money, power, social status, or various materialistic possessions, and as a result we react wrongly. Unless we are wise enough to be discriminating, putting first things first, we may very easily spend our lives looking for half-dollars, or prestige, or worldly power.

When the Psalmist declared, "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord," he was in reality lifting up not only his eyes, but his mind and soul to God. He was ready to seek divine guidance for his life and to follow wherever God's finger pointed.

Certainly, he was aware of the material things in life, even of his urgent need of them. But he was putting everything in its proper perspective. He would "seek first the kingdom of God"; after that everything else would fall into rightful place in the scheme of things.

The most important prerequisite for a truly successful life is to let that life be God-guided; to follow the example of the Psalmist; to say, in faith and quiet confidence, "Lift up my eyes ... My help comes from the Lord."

Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-19-2013