Matthew 17

The Transfiguration

 1 Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. 2 As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. 3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.

 4 Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials[a]—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

 5 But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” 6 The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.

 7 Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.

 9 As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man[b] has been raised from the dead.”

 10 Then his disciples asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?[c]

 11 Jesus replied, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.” 13 Then the disciples realized he was talking about John the Baptist.

Jesus, why did You choose Peter, James and John to see Your glory?  Why not all the apostles?  Why not all of us?  I know I don’t deserve it, but they couldn’t have deserved it either.  On second thought, perhaps I don’t want to see Your glory before I die.  I remember You have said “to him who much is given, much will be required.”  Peter, James and John all suffered so much to tell the world about You.  I’m not ready for that.

Or should I see Your glory all around me every day?  People whose lives are changed.  My own life that is changing.  Jesus, Holy Spirit, open my eyes to Your glory that is all around me every day.  Let me know You and love You and live for You.  Give me the courage to sacrifice as Peter, James and John did, if that is what You ask.  Help me to die to this life and this world, and live for You alone.      

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy

 14 At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

 17 Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.

 19 Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?”

 20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.[d]

Jesus, I obviously don’t even have a clue what the faith You are talking about is, and surely have none of it at all.  I have faults in my own character, much smaller than mountains, and I don’t have the faith to see them changed.  Perhaps character faults are, in Your kingdom, far larger than mountains.  I don’t know Lord.

Jesus, I don’t know where it comes from, but I need that mustard seed of faith.  It must be a gift from You.  I know in the book of Galations You list “faithfulness” as a fruit of the Spirit.  I’m sure I can’t learn faith or earn faith, I am way too wicked. 

Jesus, move the mountains that are my wicked faults and habits.  Give me the gift of faith in You.  My life has changed so much in these last few weeks.  You have thrown me into a storm; or rather led me into one.  I think You want me to cling to You much more and increase my faith.  Whatever Your desire, work it out in me and give me the faith I need to get through this.  Give me faith the size of a mustard seed Lord. Help!     

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

 22 After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. 23 He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

Jesus, You left Your disciples be filled with grief.  I guess I must accept my own grief.  Life has been hard these last couple months.  But so it is to be.  You are in control, just as You controlled Your own death and resurrection.  Help me to trust You in my sadness and despair.

Raised from the dead.  Your resurrection means everything Jesus.  Without it I am as pitiful as a person can be.  Because of it, I have eternal life and hope.  Thank-you for You life and the proof of Your resurrection.  Help me to live here knowing I will rise forever with You.       

Payment of the Temple Tax

 24 On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax[e] came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?”

 25 “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house.

   But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter?[f] Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?[g]

 26 “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied.

   “Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! 27 However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin.[h] Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

Jesus, I want to be free.  Not of material taxes, but of temptation.  I know that isn’t what this passage is about, but that phrase, “the citizens are free”, it sounds so good.  I know You have freed me, and I keep choosing to go back to my sins.  I don’t know why.  I guess I don’t love You enough.  Help Jesus.  Reach out Your hand and save me.     


  1. Matthew 17:4 Greek three tabernacles.
  2. Matthew 17:9 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
  3. Matthew 17:10 Greek that Elijah must come first?
  4. Matthew 17:20 Some manuscripts add verse 21, But this kind of demon won’t leave except by prayer and fasting. Compare Mark 9:29.
  5. Matthew 17:24 Greek the two-drachma [tax]; also in 17:24b. See Exod 30:13-16; Neh 10:32-33.
  6. Matthew 17:25 Greek Simon?
  7. Matthew 17:25 Greek their sons or others?
  8. Matthew 17:27 Greek a stater [a Greek coin equivalent to four drachmas].