Matthew 17

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The Transfiguration

1 1And after six days Jesus took with him 2Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
2 And he was 3transfigured before them, and 4his face shone like the sun, and 5his clothes became white as light.
3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
4 And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for 6Elijah."
5 He was still speaking when, behold, 7a bright cloud overshadowed them, and 8a voice from the cloud said, 9"This is my beloved Son,[a] with whom I am well pleased; 10listen to him."
6 When 11the disciples heard this, 12they fell on their faces and were terrified.
7 But Jesus came and 13touched them, saying, "Rise, and 14have no fear."
8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
9 15And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, 16"Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead."
10 And the disciples asked him, "Then why do the scribes say 17that first Elijah must come?"
11 He answered, "Elijah does come, and 18he will restore all things.
12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but 19did to him whatever they pleased. 20So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands."
13 21Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon

14 22And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him,
15 said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is 23an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water.
16 And I brought him to your disciples, and 24they could not heal him."
17 And Jesus answered, "O faithless and 25twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? 26How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me."
18 And Jesus 27rebuked the demon,[b] and it[c] came out of him, and 28the boy was healed instantly.[d]
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?"
20 He said to them, 29"Because of your little faith. For 30truly, I say to you, 31if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, 32you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and 33nothing will be impossible for you."[e]

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection

22 34As they were gathering[f] in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men,
23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on 35the third day." And they were greatly distressed.

The Temple Tax

24 36When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of 37the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the tax?"
25 He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, 38"What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or 39tax? From their sons or from others?"
26 And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free.
27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel.[g] Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself."

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Matthew 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

The transfiguration of Christ. (1-13) Jesus casts out a dumb and deaf spirit. (14-21) He again foretells his sufferings. (22,23) He works a miracle to pay the tribute money. (24-27)

Verses 1-13 Now the disciples beheld somewhat of Christ's glory, as of the only begotten of the Father. It was intended to support their faith, when they would have to witness his crucifixion; and would give them an idea of the glory prepared for them, when changed by his power and made like him. The apostles were overcome by the glorious sight. Peter thought that it was most desirable to continue there, and to go no more down to meet the sufferings of which he was so unwilling to hear. In this he knew not what he said. We are wrong, if we look for a heaven here upon earth. Whatever tabernacles we propose to make for ourselves in this world, we must always remember to ask Christ's leave. That sacrifice was not yet offered, without which the souls of sinful men could not have been saved; and important services were to be done by Peter and his brethren. While Peter spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, an emblem of the Divine presence and glory. Ever since man sinned, and heard God's voice in the garden, unusual appearances of God have been terrible to man. They fell prostrate to the earth, till Jesus encouraged them; when looking round, they beheld only their Lord as they commonly saw him. We must pass through varied experiences in our way to glory; and when we return to the world after an ordinance, it must be our care to take Christ with us, and then it may be our comfort that he is with us.

Verses 14-21 The case of afflicted children should be presented to God by faithful and fervent prayer. Christ cured the child. Though the people were perverse, and Christ was provoked, yet care was taken of the child. When all other helps and succours fail, we are welcome to Christ, may trust in him, and in his power and goodness. See here an emblem of Christ's undertaking as our Redeemer. It encourages parents to bring children to Christ, whose souls are under Satan's power; he is able to heal them, and as willing as he is able. Not only bring them to Christ by prayer, but bring them to the word of Christ; to means by which Satan's strong-holds in the soul are beaten down. It is good for us to distrust ourselves and our own strength; but it is displeasing to Christ when we distrust any power derived from him, or granted by him. There was also something in the malady which rendered the cure difficult. The extraordinary power of Satan must not discourage our faith, but quicken us to more earnestness in praying to God for the increase of it. Do we wonder to see Satan's bodily possession of this young man from a child, when we see his spiritual possession of every son of Adam from the fall!

Verses 22-23 Christ perfectly knew all things that should befall him, yet undertook the work of our redemption, which strongly shows his love. What outward debasement and Divine glory was the life of the Redeemer! And all his humiliation ended in his exaltation. Let us learn to endure the cross, to despise riches and worldly honours, and to be content with his will.

Verses 24-27 Peter felt sure that his Master was ready to do what was right. Christ spoke first to give him proof that no thought can be withholden from him. We must never decline our duty for fear of giving offence; but we must sometimes deny ourselves in our worldly interests, rather than give offence. However the money was lodged in the fish, He who knows all things alone could know it, and only almighty power could bring it to Peter's hook. The power and the poverty of Christ should be mentioned together. If called by providence to be poor, like our Lord, let us trust in his power, and our God shall supply all our need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. In the way of obedience, in the course, perhaps, of our usual calling, as he helped Peter, so he will help us. And if any sudden call should occur, which we are not prepared to meet, let us not apply to others, till we first seek Christ.

Cross References 39

  • 1. For ver. 1-8, see Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36
  • 2. Matthew 26:37; Mark 5:37
  • 3. [2 Corinthians 3:18(Gk.)]
  • 4. Revelation 1:16; Revelation 10:1
  • 5. Daniel 7:9; [Matthew 28:3; Psalms 104:2]
  • 6. [Malachi 4:5]
  • 7. 2 Peter 1:17; [Exodus 24:15, 16]
  • 8. 2 Peter 1:17; [Exodus 24:15, 16]
  • 9. See Matthew 3:17
  • 10. Acts 3:22
  • 11. 2 Peter 1:18
  • 12. [Genesis 17:3; Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 1:17]
  • 13. Daniel 8:18; Daniel 10:10, 18
  • 14. Matthew 14:27
  • 15. For ver. 9-13, see Mark 9:9-13
  • 16. See Matthew 8:4; Matthew 12:16
  • 17. See Matthew 11:14; Malachi 4:5, 6
  • 18. Luke 1:16, 17; [Acts 1:6; Acts 3:21]
  • 19. Matthew 14:3, 10
  • 20. Matthew 16:21
  • 21. Matthew 16:12
  • 22. For ver. 14-19, see Mark 9:14-28; Luke 9:37-42
  • 23. Matthew 4:24
  • 24. [Matthew 10:1; Mark 6:7; Luke 10:17]
  • 25. Philippians 2:15; [John 20:27]
  • 26. [John 14:9]
  • 27. Matthew 8:26; Zechariah 3:2; Mark 1:25; Luke 4:35, 39; Jude 9
  • 28. See Matthew 9:22
  • 29. [John 11:40]; See Matthew 6:30
  • 30. Matthew 21:21, 22; Mark 11:23
  • 31. Luke 17:6; [Matthew 13:31]
  • 32. ver. 9; [1 Corinthians 13:2]
  • 33. Mark 9:23
  • 34. For ver. 22, 23, see Mark 9:30-32; Luke 9:43-45; [Matthew 16:21-28; Matthew 20:17-19]
  • 35. See Mark 8:31
  • 36. Mark 9:33
  • 37. Exodus 30:13; Exodus 38:26
  • 38. Matthew 18:12; Matthew 21:28
  • 39. Matthew 22:17, 19; Mark 12:14; Romans 13:7

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Or my Son, my (or the) Beloved
  • [b]. Greek it
  • [c]. Greek the demon
  • [d]. Greek from that hour
  • [e]. Some manuscripts insert verse 21: But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting
  • [f]. Some manuscripts remained
  • [g]. Greek stater, a silver coin worth four drachmas or approximately one shekel

Matthew 17 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.