Matthew 17:24-27 (NKJV)
When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the [temple] tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the [temple] tax?”
He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?”
Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.
“Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”
The story from Matthew regarding the temple tax (beca) and the silver coin (stater) has a deeper Hebrew meaning.
The Beca was the half shekel temple tax (Beca means half or split or divided or broken).
You could never offer a whole shekel for two people because the whole idea of each person offering a Beca is to confess that we are “split or broken by nature”.
God makes up for our deficiency (insufficiency, shortage).
Christ made Peter offer the shekel, as a sign to the temple and to Peter himself, that Peter was with the One who made up for his deficiencies.
Shekel means “to weigh, weigh out, pay out.
Beca was the debt and the shekel was the payment.
Jesus Christ is the One who paid for our sins. He is our righteousness and our sufficiency, because we came short.
God’s mercy covers us when we need Him and His helping hand.
Image of silver shekel from Tyre that was in use during the period of Jesus ministry.