I read something this weekend that came back to me as I spent time in prayer this morning. Figured I’d share it. What I read came from “Expositions of Bible Doctrines: Taking the Epistle to the Romans as a Point of Departure” by Donald Gray Barnhouse. In his exposition of Romans 1:3-4 he writes the following about Christs’ humanity and Divinity:
“…The world says that there is nothing more sure than death and taxes. Certainly there is nothing more human than being taxed. The Romans called their poll tax a capitation or head tax. The day came in the life of the little land, dominated by Rome to collect the head tax. The tax collector said to Peter, ‘Does your Master pay taxes?’ The very fact that the question was asked shows that even the tax-collector recognized that there was something in Jesus Christ above and beyond all other men.
Now it was not Peter’s place to answer for his Lord, but he rushed in, as he usually did according to his impetuous nature, and agreed that the Lord would pay taxes. When Peter arrived at the house where the Lord was staying, the Lord took him aside and began to talk with him quietly. He asked Peter if he recognized that kings exempted themselves from paying taxes but took money from others so that they might be free. Peter assented to this, and the Lord pointed out that because He Himself was King, it would be natural that He should be exempt, and His disciples with Him. Yet so that no offense might be given to the worldlings, He told Peter to go ahead and pay the taxes.
But the method of securing the money is startling. In fact, He said to Peter in effect: ‘Go down to My sea of Galilee, which I created. I have had one of My creatures lose a coin in the water, and My law of gravity carried it down where I had one of My fish take it into his mouth. You go fishing and I will have that fish come to your hook. You take the fish and take the coin out of its mouth, and it will be a coin of sufficient value to pay your taxes and Mine.’ What a human thing to pay taxes! And what a divine way of paying them! Humanity and deity in the same story. Humanity is subject to the laws of the land. Deity knows the movements of a fish in the sea, knows the whereabouts of a lost coin, regulates the power and movements of the fish. I sometimes hope that Peter had faith enough not to use any bait. That fish would have climbed the string, if necessary, to fulfill such orders as these!“
To me, this brings to mind two things that I spent a considerable amount of time praying about this morning. 1st, it means that God knows exactly where we are at in our lives and he knows exactly what we need. In my own life, I have had some set backs over the past few months and have wondered how we were going to be able to make it financially. God knows exactly where I am and what I need. So, I need to just rest in that knowledge.
But, the thing that struck me the hardest this morning was the fact that, while in this instance, God used a fish to carry out His plan. In all reality, as a part of His creation, I am that fish. I have the personality that God created me with; I have the skills that God created me with; basically, I am the way I am because God wanted me this way for an exact and specific purpose on this earth. The problem is my yielded-ness to His will. In the story I shared above, that fish would have done whatever it had to do to come into contact with Peter so that Jesus’ will would be carried out. Are we that way when we think about God and who He is and what He wants from us? Just a cursory look around tells me that very few are yielded to Him in this way!
So, the real question becomes, are we willing to be so yielded to God that we would be like this fish? Talk about a struggle. Yet, somehow I feel like this is exactly what each of us who follow Christ are called to. I can tell you that I fall far short in this area and was reminded of that this morning. As the song lyrics go:
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
Words so easily sung, yet so rarely lived.