Matthew Chapter 17

The Transfiguration:
(Read Matthew 17:1-13)
Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to a high mountain near Caesarea Philippi. Tradition says this took place at mountain Tabor.  There Jesus was transfigured before his three disciples. His appearance changed so that his face shone like sun and his cloths became white as light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared, and they began talking to Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here”.  While he was speaking behold a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him”.  The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.  Jesus touched them and said “Get up and don’t be afraid.  When they looked, they saw only Jesus with them” (Matthew 17:3-8).  It was a real experience and not a vision.  This transfiguration was the personal manifestation of Jesus' glory (John 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16).  Later in Revelation we see the permanent transfiguration of the resurrected Christ (Revelation 1:12-18).  Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the prophets.  Here the Father testified that Christ’s authority supersedes that of the Old Testament law and prophets. Everything in the Old Testament was leading to Christ. He is the fulfillment of God’s promises. The scriptures testify of Jesus Christ (John 5:39).   Jesus wanted to avoid the publicity until his resurrection (Matthew 17:9). The disciples questioned Jesus about the coming of Elijah. Jesus said, "the coming of Elijah was fulfilled in John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:14).   
Jesus and Peter Pays their Taxes: 
(Read Matthew 17:14-27)
While Jesus was on the mountain, some of the disciples were attempting to heal a boy who was suffering from seizure. However, because of their unbelief they could not heal him from the oppressive attack of demon.  The problem was that the disciples trusted in their own strength rather than on God to heal the boy. Jesus was disappointed with the lack of their faith and said, “Bring the boy to me”.  And Jesus rebuked the demon, and the boy was healed instantly. We cannot accomplish anything for God without Christ (John 15:5). Faith is trusting in the God and his promises. It is the confidence we have in the wisdom and the timing of God.  Christ uses hyperbole or exaggerated illustration here when he said, “if you have faith, command a mountain to throw itself into the sea” it will move" (Matthew 17:20).  When we depend on Christ, he helps us to accomplish great things for him.  Nothing is impossible to God. Jesus again predicted about his betrayal, death, and resurrection. The disciples were greatly distressed when they heard that Jesus is going to die.  The tax collectors asked Peter “Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?” He said, "yes". Jews over twenty years had to pay half a shekel as temple tax.  But kings and their sons were exempted from it.  Jesus is the King of kings and he owns the temple. Therefore, he did not have to pay the tax.  But Jesus said to Peter to pay the tax for both by taking the coin from the mouth of the first fish he caught. He did not want to offend anyone and set an example for us to follow (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus did all things well. To have great faith we should look away from us to Jesus Christ. Our focus must be always on Christ to live the Christian life and serve him.