What does Jesus expect from a teenager? How much do WE expect from the under 20 set?
What can teens do for Jesus? Can someone so young carry out Jesus’ mission?
This question fascinates me. Today, we find younger and younger people in leadership positions. Can the emphasis on youth carry over into the realm of church planting? Can teens plant churches?
Matthew 17:24-27 offers some insight:
When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.” (NASB)
A while back, a friend postulated that only male adults over age 20 paid the temple tax. My son and I investigated and found this:
“During the first century A.D. the wealth of the temple probably reached its greatest amount. A major source of income was the half-shekel tax (Mishnah Shekalim) that was supposed to be paid by every male Jew over twenty (Matt. 17:24-27; cd p. 93). It was a sign of the attachment of Jews everywhere to their homeland that delegations from cities in the Diaspora made up these contributions and traveled with special governmental protection to deliver the large sums collected.” (Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, p 564).
So, was my friend right? Was this tax designed for male Jews age 20 and older? Yes, it was.
Since the Matthew 17 passage refers only to Jesus and Peter, is that because they are the only two present in the narrative? Or is it possible that the rest of the disciples were all younger than 20? You must decide how to answer this one. But imagine if the temple tax only applied to Jesus and Peter out of the 12?
If a band of teenagers followed, believed, obeyed and turned the world upside down, imagine what you could do?
Want to know more. Let’s talk.