On [Jesus and the disciples'] arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, "Doesn't your teacher pay the Temple tax?"
"Yes, he does," Peter replied. Then he went into the house.
But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, "What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?"
"They tax the people they have conquered," Peter replied.
"Well, then," Jesus said, "the citizens are free! However, we don't want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us."
— Matthew 17:24-27 NLT
What a weird story and even more strange is why it would be placed here in the flow of the narrative. But it is here as a reminder to us that we do live in an earthly world with earthly obligations and earthly influences. While our values and our Messiah's glory may not be displayed in a way that the world understands, our responsibility to be good citizens and to participate in society is essential. We can't influence people to come to Christ if they don't respect our desire to be people of integrity as we reflect the character of our Savior in the world in which we all live.
Loving Father, please protect my influence from the harm that comes from slanderers and evil critics who want to do away with my Christian influence. Please forgive me for my past transgressions, cleanse me and make me holy, and empower me to follow Jesus with bold courage and faithful integrity. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.