When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes,” he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?” When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”
In today's Gospel, for the second time, Jesus warns His disciples about His suffering, death, and resurrection. The disciples do not understand what "resurrection" means, as a result they are overwhelmed with grief over Jesus' suffering. When we only think about the cross, we would also be sad. As we pick up our crosses, let us also hope for our resurrection, that keeps us going forward.
When they come to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax asked Peter if Jesus would pay the tax. A half shekel was levied each year on all Jewish males of 20 years or older. It was for the upkeep of the temple. Jesus asks Peter: "From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?" Peter answers: "From foreigners." If the sons of the kings on earth are exempt from paying tax, Jesus the Messiah, Son of God should also be exempt from paying the temple tax, since the temple is God's house.
The purpose of this passage is to illustrate Jesus' identity, which is not yet revealed to others. Jesus obeys the law at the time. With a miracle, Jesus and Peter can both pay the tax, which also serves to strengthen the disciples' faith and to prove His identity as the Son of God.