I was driving to Edmonton yesterday and decided to take a backroad to save a little time. But the police had the road blocked, so no time was saved. A vehicle had caught fire and they had the area closed off to the public. A minor inconvenience to me; I found another way into town. But roadblocks can be significant challenges.
At the end of Matthew 17, Peter is approached by tax collectors. They are there to collect the temple tax for Jesus. But Peter does not really know if Jesus should pay. Jesus of all people should be exempt and He doesn’t have any money, but Peter would not disgrace his master knowingly. So he answers in that his master will pay. But he follows it up with Jesus right away.
I find it quite winsome that Jesus does not rebuke Peter here, but rather uses the opportunity to come back to confirming His identity for His followers. It would have been pretty easy to give Peter an “F” for not knowing the right answer, but He doesn’t. He gently teaches Peter.
“From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?”
Obviously Jesus is exempt from this tax. Yet He pays it, much as He gets baptized by John even though He Himself has no sins of which to repent.
In short, Jesus removes any roadblock He can for us, anything that will keep us from believing in Him. He gently explains, He pays taxes, He gets baptized and even rises from the dead!
Are there roadblocks in the way of your faith today? Are they something that Jesus can move? Or maybe you can yourself, through the power of the Holy Spirit? Are there doubts that make you skeptical of faith? Do you need to be skeptical of your doubts too?
Are there roadblocks you can see in the path of others’ faith? Can do something to help them? Talk to them? Gently explain? Pray?
Lord, I believe. But help me in my unbelief too.