Matthew 17

17 Jan

Continuing to go through the book of Matthew looking at one chapter a day and offering a thought, question, or quote. Today it is Matthew 17:

How old were Jesus disciples? Ray Vanderlaan suggests that all the disciples but one were under the age of 20. The reason for this is found in Exodus 30:14-15, Jewish law states that every male over the age of 20 is to pay a half-shekel as census offering when they visit the temple of God. Compare that to Matthew 17:24-27:

24After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax[b]?”

25″Yes, he does,” he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?”

26″From others,” Peter answered.

“Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him. 27″But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

Jesus has Peter catch a fish to pay for Peter’s tax and his. What about the other disciples? Are they supposed to catch their own fish? Or, are they all under 20 years of age?

Two others sources that would support this are that Peter is the only disciple who is mentioned to be married (typical marriage age is suggested to be at 18 years for males of the time) and Jesus refers to his disciples as little ones (Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21, and John 13:33).


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