“Throw that little thing back, it’s not big enough to keep. We need fish a lot larger than him. How will we ever pay our taxes with minnows like that?” Judas said.
“Jesus said take the first fish! He didn’t say it had to be a big fish. He said the first fish and this is the first fish. I am going to keep it!” Peter replied.
“But it’s so small, there can’t be anything of value there. You know we have the temple tax to pay because of you and your mouth,” the other fisherman chided.
“I’m keeping it and that’s it! Jesus said take the first fish and this is it,” Peter said.
Judas said, “Peter you are wasting your time with that little fish. But if it makes you happy, then keep it. Just get back to fishing.”
“Judas, remember once when Jesus had been teaching all day. There were thousands of people, who sat listening. When He finished teaching, he ordered that all of them were to be fed?” Peter asked.
“Yea, I remember him doing that but what’s that got to do with our temple tax? The priests won’t take a few fish and a few loaves of bread for it’s due. You know Annas and Caiaphas better than that,” Judas answered.
Peter continued as though Judas had said nothing. “But we gathered a few small fish and a few loaves of bread and Jesus fed over 4000 people with that little bit. I think He can pay our taxes with this fish.”
“You just don’t understand finances, do you Peter? You are just a dumb fisherman who believes everything He’s told, regardless of how stupid it may sound. If you think you can pay the tax with that, then you are as dumb as it is,” Judas answered in a rather frustrated tone.
Peter took the small fish and holding it carefully, looked into its mouth.
“Now that’s got to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen! Do you really believe that the money is going to be in its mouth? Your mama dropped you on your head, one time to many, when you were little,” Judas said.
“Judas, in all this time you have been with Jesus, you haven’t learned anything, have you?” Peter returned.
“I’m smart enough not to look a ‘gift fish’ in the mouth. There is no money in that fish, throw it back and let’s get on with our work,” Judas shouted.
Peter, ignoring Judas’ irate response, put his finger into the mouth of the fish.
“There is something there!” Peter shouted. “There is something in this fish. See I told you but so! You wouldn’t listen, now I’ll show you who’s stupid!”
Peter plied his finger around in the mouth of the small fish for a few minutes and then closing his fingers on something solid pulled out a new shinny Stater, which was worth four shekels. That just happened to be the amount of Temple tax owed by Jesus and his followers.
“See, mister know it all, I told you so! Now who is the smart one in this boat?” Peter asked in his softest voice.
Judas sat down slowly on the seat of the boat. He had never seen anything like this before. It was just as Jesus had said, “The first fish.” He shook his head and said to Peter, “I guess I learned something about fishing tonight. The size of the fish does not matter, if it’s the one Jesus sent you after.”