(24) 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?'
(27) 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.”
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The Greek word behind "tax" (NKJV) or "tribute" (KJV) in verse 24 is didrachma, equivalent to the Jewish "half-shekel," the Temple rate paid by every male Israelite above age twenty. Those responsible for collecting these half-shekels came to Peter. Unlike tolls, which were duties on goods, the Temple tax was levied on individual Israelites. The collected money, paid into the Temple treasury, defrayed the cost of Temple services. The Jews were much more willing to accept this collection than to pay the despised publicans who extracted taxes for Rome.
The miracle's preciseness is seen in the coin found in the fish's mouth, a full shekel (two didrachmas)—half a shekel each for Christ and Peter ("for Me and you"; verse 27)—the exact amount to satisfy the requirement. In this way, Jesus puts Himself alongside Peter as sharing His position and relationship as a son of the Kingdom. All true Christians fill this amazing position: They are no longer servants, but sons in Christ (Galatians 3:26). With His brethren Jesus shares His family relationship to His Father (John 20:17).
This account contains two principles. The first is doctrinal, teaching Jesus' place in God's Kingdom as the rightful Son. The second is moral, showing that greatness in the Kingdom derives from service and humility. Jesus' phrase, "lest we offend them," should motivate us to employ meekness and wisdom.
— Martin G. Collins