There really aren’t many joys about getting older, but one small blessing is concessionary entrance fees. What really bugs though, is that no-one ever questions my eligibility for age concessions. Huh! There again, is it fair, that wealthy elderly folk should pay less than poorer younger people? Concessions are just not that simple!
In Exodus 30:11-16, God was telling Moses that when he took a census, every adult had to pay a fee. And everyone had to pay exactly the same. No concessions! If you wanted ‘in’ to the community, with all its benefits, then that was the price you paid. It gave you a right to be included in those for whom the daily sacrifices were offered, sparing them from paying the price for their own sins. Interestingly, the money was not used to pay for the sacrifices, but to maintain the furnishings. This reminds us that no money can ever purchase our redemption – Jesus paid the price for our sins, once and for all. We can never repay him, except to offer back our lives for his service. No amount of money would ever be enough, and we all pay the same – everything we’ve got.
In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus demonstrated that he did not have to pay this contribution to the Temple, since he, the sinless one, had no need of the atoning sacrifice. But he chose to pay it, to identify himself with sinful man, and at the same time, symbolically, paid the price for Simon Peter too.
Christians have chosen to enter in to the sacrifice that Jesus made, to atone for their sins once and for all. It didn’t cost any of us a penny. That said, the furnishings and expenditure at our churches need to be financed, and we should gladly and generously pay our way to be part of that community.
Simon Peter had his tax paid for him on that particular occasion, but later laid down his whole life: living to serve God with every ounce of his being, and then dying a martyr’s death. It cost him nothing, but he gave all he’d got.
I enjoy the benefits of free access to my Heavenly Father – Jesus paid my entrance fee in full. But the deal I made, was that I would offer him my life back. Everything I’ve got. It’s good to remind myself of that. No concessions there!