Questions to Jesus (a 5-part study)

The ministry of John the Baptist was extraordinary. No other prophet in Israel had been given such a special assignment. Everything about John was marked with wonder: his birth was announced to his aged father by an angel; from his mother's womb he was filled with the Holy Spirit; and he identified Jesus as the promised saviour - "Behold the Lamb of God," he said, " who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)

The Jews' question to Jesus, "How long will you keep us in suspense?" implies that their state of unbelief was the Lord's fault, not theirs, and so they requested Jesus to tell them "plainly". They were not asking Jesus to speak more slowly or to enunciate his words.

The fish weren't biting and that night the disciples had caught nothing. (John 21:3) But things were about to change. Instructions from a stranger on the shore brought a catch so great that "they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish." (John 21:6)

The theory of retribution, that bad things happen to people as punishment for their sin, was a common belief in Jesus' day, and is still believed by some today. Even sincere, committed Christians can secretly entertain the notion that the bad things that happen to them are a sign of God's displeasure. How this belief gained common acceptance is difficult to know, as Scripture is certainly against it.

There will always be those who will do everything they can to avoid paying all the taxes they owe, and those who avoid paying taxes altogether. But paying taxes - whether income tax, corporate tax, state tax, value added tax or any other form of taxation - is our duty as Christians.