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Mat 17:26 Then are the children free.
Like most chapters in Matthew, there is a clear pattern in the subject matter that most people miss in the story. This chapter starts with the transfiguration, where Christ is revealed as the son of God. It then moves to the topic of faith and its ability to move mountains. Then Christ explains that he is going to his death so that he can be raised again.
Where does this ending, a story on paying a tax fit in? It is revealed in this line. Christ asks if the children of king's are required to pay taxes. Peter says that they are not. This leads Christ to observe here that the children of king's are free.
In other words, he, as the Son of God is free from being taxed by God. His decision to go to his death is a free choice. It is not the Father's decision, but his own. This is a little clearer in Greek because the word translation as "children" is the same word for "son" that Christ uses to describe himself as the son of Man.
We should also remember that Christ refers to all of us as huios theos, sons of God. So not only is Christ free, but we are all free, free to choose and especially free to believe. The world is made ambiguous so that faith is not force on us. We are free to choose it or not. However, choosing faith is the path to power. It gives us the power to move mountains. Remember, the word used for "faith" also means "confidence." If we are not the children of God, our lives our meaningless. We shouldn't expect to accomplish anything. However, if we believe our lives have a purpose, we have the confidence to literally attempt anything.
If we are strangers to God, our burdens are a tax. Our suffering is meaningless. But Christ came to deliver us from our burdens. Remember, the word translated as "evil" really means "burdened by toils" and "worthless." Our faith in God, being sons of God, transforms our burdens to free choices. They are no longer a tax, but a path to purpose and meaning.
"Children" is from huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." Christ most frequently refers to himself as huios anthropos, the son of man. Peter calls Jesus huios zao theos, son of the living God.
"Free" is from eleutheros, which means "free," "freedom," "independent," and "freed from a thing."