National Gallery, London

Leader in training. “What do you think, Simon [Peter]?” Jesus asks his future successor at the beginning of a lesson on taxation and religious responsibility. The officials in Capernaum have been inquiring whether Jesus has paid the half-shekel Temple tax, levied annually on Jewish males to pay for sacrifices at the Temple. Peter tells them yes, but when he gets home, Jesus questions him about whether they, as children of God, really should be required to pay a tax to support their father’s Temple. Jesus shows Peter there is another, miraculous way to approach the issue. He instructs Peter to go to the sea and cast a hook: “Take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me” (Matthew 17:27). These training sessions, found throughout the Gospel of Matthew, reassure the reader that the flawed disciple will indeed learn how to be a successful leader.