Matthew Chapter 17
Matthew 17:1 KJV And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
Guzik: He was transfigured before them: What does it mean to be transfigured? The word speaks of a transformation, not merely a change in outward appearance. The effect was extremely striking; Jesus became so bright in appearance that He was even difficult to look at (like the sun).
Clarke: After six days - Mar_9:2, has the same number; but Luke says, Luk_9:28, after eight days. The reason of this difference seems to be the following: Matthew and Mark reckon the days from that mentioned in the preceding chapter, to that mentioned in this; Luke includes both days, as well as the six intermediate: hence, the one makes eight, the other six, without any contradiction.
Peter, James, and John - He chose those that they might be witnesses of his transfiguration: two or three witnesses being required by the Scripture to substantiate any fact. Eminent communications of the Divine favor prepare for, and entitle to, great services and great conflicts. The same three were made witnesses of his agony in the garden, Mat_26:37.
A high mountain - This was one of the mountains of Galilee; but whether Mount Tabor or not, is uncertain. Some think it was Mount Hermon. St. Luke says, Christ and his disciples went up into the mountain to pray, Luk_9:28.
Matthew 17:2 KJV And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
Mar 9:3 MKJV And His clothing became shining, exceedingly white as snow such as no fuller on earth could whiten them.
Guzik: -- What exactly happened here? Matthew says that Jesus’ face shone like the sun (Mat_17:2), and both Matthew and Mark use the word transfigured to describe what happened to Jesus. For this brief time, Jesus took on an appearance more appropriate for the King of Glory than for a humble man.
c. He was transfigured before them: Mark does his best to describe for us - no doubt, through the eyes of Peter - what Jesus looked like. Basically, Jesus’ whole appearance shined forth in glorious, bright light - his clothes became shining, and whiter than anything seen on this earth.
i. If we’re not careful, we think of the transfiguration as just a bright light shined on Jesus. But this wasn’t a light coming on Jesus from the outside. “The word transfigured describes a change on the outside that comes from the inside. It is the opposite of ‘masquerade,’ which is an outward change that does not come from within.” (Wiersbe)
d. Why did Jesus do this, and why at this time? Because Jesus just told His disciples that He was going the way of the cross (Mar_8:31), and that spiritually they should follow Him in the way of the cross (Mar_8:34-38). It would have been easy for them to lose confidence in Jesus after such a “negative” statement.
e. But now, as Jesus displays His glory as King over all God’s Kingdom, the disciples know that Jesus knows what He is doing; if He is to suffer, be rejected and killed, He is still in control.
f. Jesus also shows in a dramatic way that cross bearers will be glory receivers. The goal isn’t the cross. The cross is the path to the goal, and the goal is the glory of God.
Is your eye fixed on the glory beyond the cross?
Barnes: And was transfigured before them - The word “transfigure” means to change the appearance or form. It does not denote the change of the substance of a thing, but simply of its appearance. It puts on a new aspect. What this change was we are expressly told.
1. His face shone as the sun; that is, with a special brightness. A similar appearance is described respecting Moses when he came down from the mount, Exo_34:29-30. See also Heb_1:3, where Christ is called the brightness of the glory of God: in the original, the splendor or shining, like the brightness of the sun.
2. The second change was that of his garments. They were white as the light. Mark says, “exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth could white them.” The word “fuller” means, commonly, one who dresses cloth or fulls it, so as to make it more thick and strong. Here it means one who bleaches cloth or makes it white; one who cleanses garments when by wearing they become soiled. Among the Greeks that was a distinct trade. Luke says, “white and glistering,” that is, resplendent, shining, or a very bright white. There is no evidence here that what is commonly said of him is true, that his body was so changed as to show what his glorified body is. His body, so far as the sacred writers inform us, underwent no change. All this splendor and glory was a change in appearance only. The Scriptures should be taken just as they are, without any attempt to affix a meaning to them which the sacred writers did not intend.
Raiment - Clothing. John may refer to this transfiguration in Joh_1:14, as Peter does in 2Pe_1:16-17.
2 Peter 1:16-18 KJV For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
Matthew 17:3 KJV And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Guzik:. Why Moses and Elijah? Because they represent those who are caught up to God (Jud_1:9 and 2Ki_2:11).
Also because they represent the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). The sum of Old Testament revelation comes to meet with Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration.
CTR: Appeared unto them -- It was only an appearance, because Christ was the firstborn from the dead and neither Moses nor Elijah is as yet "made perfect." (Heb_11:39, 40)
Guzik: Right in front of them, the disciples saw evidence of life beyond this life. When they saw Moses and Elijah, they knew that Moses had passed from this world 1,400 years before and Elijah had passed some 900 years before. Yet there they were, alive in glory before them. It gave them confidence in Jesus’ claim to resurrection.
They were talking with Jesus: What did they talk about? Elijah and Moses were interested in the outworking of God’s plan through Jesus. They spoke about what Jesus was about to accomplish at Jerusalem (Luk_9:31).
Luk 9:31 KJV Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
How could Jesus be talking to Moses who we know was dead, and we know was not in heaven (because no one could go before Jesus opened the way and came back at his second coming)?
Elijah we are not told what happened to him, but we also know he was not taken to heaven in reality because of the same reason given above—what are your thoughts on Elijah?
Barnes: And behold there appeared unto them Moses and Elias - Moses, a distinguished servant of God, by whom the law was given, and whose institutions typified the Messiah. It was particularly proper that he should appear, when his prophecies and types were about to be fulfilled, and the rites which he had instituted were about to be done away. Elias, or Elijah, a distinguished prophet, taken … without seeing death. See 2Ki_2:11. Elijah had been honored eminently by being thus translated, and still more by being made the model of the forerunner of the Messiah, Mal_4:5; Luk_1:17; Mat_11:14. They appeared “in glory” Luk_9:31.
Talking with him - Luke Luk_9:31 informs us that they conversed about “his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.”
Luke adds Luk_9:32 that “Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep.” It is not improbable that this was in the night; that Jesus was engaged in prayer; and that he had permitted his weary followers to compose themselves to rest. It was after they were awaked that they saw this vision. Probably the sudden splendor, the bright shining aroused them from sleep.
CTR: Appeared unto them -- It was only an appearance, because Christ was the firstborn from the dead; and neither Moses nor Elias is as yet made perfect.
There was glory and honor attached to the Jewish dispensation and to the Gospel dispensation, but a still greater glory was manifested in the presence of Jesus, who represented the Millennial dispensation.
Moses -- A figure of Moses, representing the Mosaic or Law dispensation; or the overcomers of the Jewish age. Identified, either because Jesus used their names in talking with them; or by Jesus informing the apostles on the way down from the mountain. Moses spoke of the sufferings of Christ in all the arrangements of the Law and its sacrifices.
And Elias -- A figure of Elijah, representing the Gospel or Christian dispensation; or the overcomers of the Gospel age, the Church. Representing the prophets, who declared not only the coming glories, but also the sufferings which must precede them.
Both Moses and Elijah had fasted 40 days, as had Jesus, showing that they were one with him in remarkable devotion to the heavenly .
Neither Moses nor Elias went to heaven
Talking with him -- The conversation of the vision corroborated his statements that he would suffer a martyr's death at Jerusalem.
Moses and Elijah represented the two classes associated with the Lord in the glory of his Kingdom who will constitute the earthly and heavenly phases of the Kingdom--Moses the earthly, Elijah the heavenly.
Matthew 17:4 KJV Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
Guzik: 3. (Mat_17:4-5) Peter’s equating Jesus with Moses and Elijah is dramatically rebuked by a voice from the cloud of God’s glory.
Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah: Mar_9:6 and Luk_9:33 point out that Peter didn’t know what he was saying when he said this. But the effect of his words was to put Jesus on an equal level with Moses and Elijah, building equal shrines for each of them.
Mar 9:6 MKJV For he did not know what to say, for they were very much afraid.
Russell: Three tabernacles -- Evidently thinking that the Master would rejoice at such blessed fellowship, and willing to do anything for his aid. How many there are like Peter who want to rear earthly tabernacles and fail to understand and appreciate the real vision of the kingdom. Peter was bewildered, confused, but in harmony with his natural temperament, wished to say something.
Expositors: They spoke of His decease, and their word seems to have lingered in the narrative as strangely appropriate to one of the speakers; it is Christ’s "exodus." 
But St. Mark does not linger over this detail, nor mention the drowsiness with which they struggled; he leans all the weight of his vivid narrative upon one great fact, the evidence now given of our Lord’s absolute supremacy.
For, at this juncture Peter interposed. He "answered," a phrase which points to his consciousness that he was no unconcerned bystander, that the vision was in some degree addressed to him and his companions. But he answers at random, and like a man distraught. "Lord, it is good for us to be here," as if it were not always good to be where Jesus led, even though men should bear a cross to follow Him. Intoxicated by the joy of seeing the King in His beauty, and doubtless by the revulsion of new hope in the stead of his dolorous forebodings, he proposes to linger there. He will have more than is granted, just as, when Jesus washed his feet, he said "not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." And if this might be, it was fitting that these superhuman personages should have tabernacles made for them. No doubt the assertion that he wist not what to say, bears specially upon this strange offer to shelter them from the night air, and to provide for each a place of separate repose. The words are incoherent, but they are quite natural from one who has so impulsively begun to speak that now he must talk on, because he knows not how to stop. They are the words of the very Peter whose actions we know so well. As he formerly walked upon the sea, before considering how boisterous were the waves, and would soon afterwards smite with the sword, and risk himself in the High Priest’s palace, without seeing his way through either adventure, exactly so in this bewildering presence he ventures into a sentence without knowing how to close it.
In speaking thus, he has lowered his Master to the level of the others, unconscious that Moses and Elijah were only attendants upon Jesus, …, and who speak not of their achievements but of His sufferings. If Peter knew it, the hour had struck when their work, the law of Moses and the utterances of the prophets whom Elijah represented, should cease to be the chief impulse in religion, and without being destroyed, should be "fulfilled," and absorbed in a new system. He was there to whom Moses in the law, and the prophets bore witness, and in His presence they had no glory by reason of the glory that excelleth. Yet Peter would fain build equal tabernacles for all alike.
Luke 9:33 KJV And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
Now St. Luke tells us that he interposed just when they were departing, and apparently in the hope of staying them. But all the narratives convey a strong impression that his words hastened their disappearance, and decided the manner of it. For while he yet spake, as if all the vision were eclipsed on being thus misunderstood, a cloud swept over the three -- bright, yet overshadowing them -- and the voice of God proclaimed their Lord to be His beloved Son (not faithful only, like Moses, as a steward over the house), and bade them, instead of desiring to arrest the flight of rival teachers, hear Him.
Too often Christian souls err after the same fashion. We cling to authoritative teachers, familiar ordinances, and traditional views, good it may be, and even divinely given, as if they were not intended wholly to lead us up to Christ. And in many a spiritual eclipse, from many a cloud which the heart fears to enter, the great lesson resounds through the conscience of the believer, Hear Him!
Let it be observed that the miraculous and Divine Voice reveals nothing new to them. ... What we all need most is not clearer and sounder views, but the bringing of our thoughts into subjection to the mind of Jesus.
Do you speak because you feel you have to say something?
Matthew 17:5 KJV While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
Guzik: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him! The Father, from heaven, rebukes Peter’s attempt to put Jesus on an equal footing with Moses and Elijah. Jesus is unique, the beloved Son - He deserves our special attention, so Hear Him!
This clearly puts Jesus above the Law and the Prophets. He is not merely another, or even better law giver or prophet. Jesus is the only begotten Son.
CTR: A bright cloud -- A misty cloud of light saying to the disciples and to us that his glory will be obscured for a time, observed only with the eye of faith, but which, though more or less cloudy, will nevertheless be bright to those who look unto him.
Behold a voice -- "And this voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy mount." (2Pe_1:18)
Out of the cloud -- Hence God twice burst heaven open to exclaim, "This is my beloved Son"; but this was the only time in the history of our race that God's silence was thus broken.
Hear ye him -- All through the Gospel age, while the misty cloud surrounds his glory, we shall have great need to continually hearken to the Word of the Lord.
"Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak." (Jam_1:19)
Seeming to say, Be still! Hearken rather to the words of my beloved Son. Not a few need to learn this lesson of quietness--to hear and learn, to be taught of God.
"My sheep hear my voice." (Joh_10:27) R3346:5
The essence of the entire vision was to impress upon the minds of the apostles the fact that Jesus was the Messiah.
CTR: And a voice -- Such a voice was heard on three different occasions: (1) At our Lord's baptism. (Mat_3:17) (2) Here on the mount of transfiguration. (3) Just before the crucifixion. (Joh_12:28)
This is my beloved Son -- A fresh encouragement to their faith that Jesus was "the Son of the Highest." (Luk_1:32) Their faith was corroborated; God himself had testified in this miraculous manner that Jesus was his Son.
Guzik: --This is My beloved Son. Hear Him! The voice from the cloud of glory makes it clear that Jesus is not on the same level as Elijah and Moses. He is the beloved Son - so Hear Him!
“There are thousands of priests in the world who say, ‘Hear us’; but the Father says ‘Hear him.’ Many voices clamor for our attention: new philosophies, modern theologies, and old heresies revived, all call to us and entreat us to hearken, but the Father says, ‘Hear him.’“ (Spurgeon)
This word from heaven answered the disciples’ doubts after the revelation of the suffering Messiah. It assured them that the plan was all right with God the Father also.
The disciples wished to detain Moses and Elijah that they might hear them: but God shows that the law which had been in force, and the prophets which had prophesied, until now, must all give place to Jesus; and he alone must now be attended to, as the way, the truth, and the life.” (Clarke)
Who do you hear?
Do you just hear or do you listen as well?
Matthew 17:6 KJV And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
Guzik: They fell on their faces and were greatly afraid: The disciples react in the way most people do when the encounter God in such a close way, or hear His voice from heaven (Exo_20:18-19, Isa_6:5, Rev_1:17).
Gill: And when the disciples heard it,.... The voice out of the cloud, and which they apprehended came from God, and was uttered with so much majesty:
they fell on their face: not so much out of reverence, or for the sake of adoration, but as persons struck with astonishment and fear, and were as half dead; and so fell with their faces fiat to the ground, not being able to stand before God, to behold His majesty, and hear His voice:
and were sore afraid: they were filled with fear, when, awaking out of their sleep, they saw the surprising glory of Christ, and of the two men that were with him, insomuch that they knew not what to think, or say; and so they were when they entered into the cloud, and still more upon hearing the voice of God Himself, even though it was a voice of love, grace, and mercy; see Deu_5:24. But yet they were not struck with so much amazement and surprise, as not to know what was said; for they distinctly heard the words, rightly understood, and faithfully related them; from whom the evangelists had them, and which Peter perfectly remembered, and recorded many years after.
Matthew 17:7 KJV And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
Guzik: Arise, and do not be afraid: The disciples are again in awe of Jesus. This helps explain the purpose of the Transfiguration - to reassure the disciples that Jesus was the Messiah, even if He would indeed be crucified.
i. Note the context: Jesus just revealed His humiliation and sufferings to them. It makes sense that they receive another divine testimony to Jesus’ status as the Son of God at this time.
ii. This event truly impressed the disciples with Jesus’ glory. Peter mentions it later in 1Pe_1:16-18.
Clarke: It is very likely that this transfiguration took place in the night, which was a more proper season to show forth its glory than the day time, in which a part of the splendor must necessarily be lost by the presence of the solar light. Besides, St. Luke, Luk_9:37, expressly says, that it was on the next day after the transfiguration that our Lord came down from the mount.
Matthew 17:8 KJV And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
Mar 9:8 MKJV And suddenly, looking around, they did not see anyone any more, except Jesus alone with themselves.
Gill: And suddenly, when they had looked round about,.... Upon hearing the voice, to see if they could observe any other object, by whom it was pronounced, and whether the same they had seen continued:
they saw no man any more; neither Moses, nor Elias, not at that time, nor ever after;
save Jesus only with themselves: the voice only regarded him, and being directed to them;
Popular NT: And suddenly, etc. Mark omits some details here. The withdrawal itself was not necessarily sudden, but their perception of it was.
Save Jesus only. His authority suffices; His love redeems; His glory is the great end.
With themselves. Peculiar to Mark; it hints at the self-consciousness of an eye-witness, and suggests that our Lord was near them as they looked. Matthew tells that they looked up after He touched them.
Are you satisfied with Jesus alone?
Matthew 17:9 KJV And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
CTR: What things they had seen -- A "vision"--not a reality (Mat_17:9)--of the coming glory of Christ's kingdom. (2Pe_1:16-18)
Guzik: After it was all over, Peter, John and James kept this word to themselves - after all, who would believe them? But the event left a lasting impression on these men. Peter relates what happened in 2Pe_1:16-18, how the voice from God saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” still rang in his ears, confirming who Jesus was.
Gill: until the son of man be risen again from the dead; meaning himself and his resurrection, when such proof would be given of his mission, authority, and glory, which would make this account more easy to be believed… This order of Christ was strictly observed by the disciples; for Luke, says, "they kept it close"; to themselves, in their own breasts; it lay concealed between these three; "and told no man in those days, any of those things which they had seen": and Mark says, "they kept that saying within themselves"; only as he adds, they were "questioning one with another, what the rising from the dead should mean": for they were not yet reconciled to the Messiah's dying, which was contrary to their expectation of a temporal kingdom; and therefore could not tell what to make of his rising again, whether this had not some secret, mystical meaning; for of his resurrection from the dead, in a literal sense, they had no notion; though it was foretold in the writings of the Old Testament, and had been so lately affirmed by Christ himself.
Could you have kept the secret?
When the woman came to the apostles to tell them Jesus’ body was taken from the tomb—and Peter and John ran to the tomb—do you think this experience came to their mind? (Luke 24:12, John 20:1-4)
Gill: Jesus charged them, saying, tell the vision to no man: by the "vision" is meant, as it is explained in Mark, "what things they had seen"; as Moses and Elias, and the bright cloud that overshadowed them, and Christ transfigured before them, in a surprising, glorious manner. These Christ strictly ordered Peter, James, and John, to speak of to no man whatever; no, not their fellow disciples; who either would be apt to disbelieve them, on account of the greatness of them, as Thomas did the resurrection of Christ afterwards; or lest they should be troubled and displeased, that they were not admitted to the same sight; and especially not to the multitude, or to any other person,
until the son of man be risen again from the dead; meaning himself and his resurrection, when such proof would be given of his mission, authority, and glory, which would make this account more easy to be believed: besides, he had told the Jews, that no sign, that is, from heaven, as this voice was, should be given, but the sign of the Prophet Jonas; referring to his resurrection, which would be a sure testimony of the truth of his Messiahship. This order of Christ was strictly observed by the disciples; for Luke, says, "they kept it close"; to themselves, in their own breasts; it lay concealed between these three; "and told no man in those days, any of those things which they had seen": and Mark says, "they kept that saying within themselves"; only as he adds, they were "questioning one with another, what the rising from the dead should mean": for they were not yet reconciled to the Messiah's dying, which was contrary to their expectation of a temporal kingdom; and therefore could not tell what to make of his rising again, whether this had not some secret, mystical meaning; for of his resurrection from the dead, in a literal sense, they had no notion; though it was foretold in the writings of the Old Testament, and had been so lately affirmed by Christ himself.
Mar 9:10 MKJV And they kept that saying within themselves, debating with one another what the rising from the dead is.
Gill: And they kept that saying with themselves,.... "They retained it in their own mind", as the Persic version renders it; "they kept it close", as Luke says, Luk_9:36, among themselves, and acquainted no man with it: and which refers either to the whole of Christ's charge, relating to the vision on the mount; or else only to what he said about his resurrection from the dead; and which they took notice of particularly, and laid hold upon, as the word will bear to be rendered; and so the Ethiopic version does render it, "and they observed his saying"; what he last said concerning the son of man's rising from the dead;
questioning with one other what the rising from the dead should mean: they inquired, disputed, and reasoned with one another, what should be the meaning of such an expression: not that they were ignorant of the general resurrection of the dead; for this was the hope of Israel, and the general sense of the Jewish nation: but they did not know what he meant by his particular rising from the dead: whether he meant it in a literal sense, which supposed his death; and that though he had lately told them of, they knew not how to reconcile to the notions they had of a long and flourishing temporal kingdom of the Messiah; or whether he meant a and interest, in such manner as they expected.
Matthew 17:10 KJV And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Guzik: Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? The disciples had heard that Elijah must come, according to Mal_4:5 : Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
b. Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things: Jesus reassures the disciples that Elijah will indeed come first. But the first coming of Jesus’ did not bring the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Instead, the Mal_4:5 coming of Elijah is probably best identified with the appearance of the two witnesses of Rev_11:3-13, and the Second Coming of Jesus.
c. But I say to you that Elijah has come already: Yet, there is also a sense in which Elijah has come already, in the work of John the Baptist, who ministered in Elijah’s spirit and power (Luk_1:17).
Gill: And his disciples asked him, saying,.... That is, these three, Peter, James, and John, before they came to the rest; whilst they were going down the mountain, or from it, to the place where the others were; for the rest knew nothing of the appearance of Elias, and so cannot be thought to join in a question concerning him.
Clarke: His disciples - The disciples, i.e. those only who had been with him on the mount, Peter, James, and John.
Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? - As the disciples saw that Elijah returned …, knowing the tradition of the elders, and the prophecy on which the tradition was founded, Mal_4:5, Mal_4:6, Behold I send you Elijah the prophet, before the great and terrible day of the Lord shall come; and he shall turn the hearts, etc., it was natural enough for them to inquire what the meaning of the tradition, and the intention of the prophecy, were.
Benson: His disciples asked, &c. — Being much surprised at the sudden departure of Elias, and at their Master’s ordering them to keep his having appeared a secret, they had no sooner finished their dispute about what the rising from the dead should mean, than, addressing themselves to Jesus, they said, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come — Before the Messiah, if no man must know of his coming? As if he had said, Since Elias has gone away so soon, and since thou orderest us to keep his appearing a secret, how come the scribes to teach, on all occasions, that Elias must appear before the Messiah erects his empire? As they supposed that Elias was to have an active hand in modelling and settling the Messiah’s kingdom, they never doubted that he would abide a while on earth; and knowing that the scribes affirmed openly that Elias was to appear, they could see no reason for concealing the thing.
Matthew 17:11 KJV And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
CTR: Truly shall first come -- Oldest manuscripts omit the word "first."
To prepare the way of Messiah by performing a reformation work in preaching repentance and baptism for the remission of sins and declaring the Kingdom of heaven at hand.
The coming of Elijah must precede the day of the Lord (Mal_4:4-5); but his work belongs to that day.
Restore all things -- In the times of restitution of all things. (Act_3:19-21) John did do a work of reformation amongst the Lord's people at the first advent, the work of introducing Messiah.
Barnes: Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things - He did not mean by this that Elijah was yet to come, for he tells them immediately Mat_17:12 that he had come; but he meant to affirm that it was a true doctrine which the scribes taught, that Elijah would appear before the coming of the Messiah. To “restore” means to put into the former situation. See Mat_12:13. Hence, it means to heal, to correct, to put in proper order. Here it means that Elijah would put things in a proper state; he would be the instrument of reforming the people, or of restoring them, in some measure, to proper notions about the Messiah and preparing them for his coming. Before the coming of John their views were erroneous, their expectations were worldly, and their conduct were exceedingly depraved. He corrected many of their notions about the Messiah (see Matt. 3), and he was the instrument of an extensive reformation, and thus restored them, in some degree, to correct views of their own system and of the Messiah, and to a preparation for his advent.
Matthew 17:12 KJV But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
Mar 9:12 MKJV And He answered and told them, Elijah truly does come first and restores all things. And how has it been written of the Son of Man that He should suffer many things and be despised?
Guzik: Elijah does come first: Jesus tells them that the Elijah prophecy in Malachi will indeed be fulfilled. Though Jesus does not say this here, the prophecy of Elijah’s coming had to do with Jesus’ second coming, not His first…
i. How is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer: Jesus draws attention to the contrast between His first and second comings here. The disciples were well aware of the prophecies concerning the glory of the Messiah; Jesus asked them to consider the prophecies concerning His suffering and that He must be treated with contempt.
Mar 9:13 MKJV But I say to you that Elijah has indeed come, and they have done to him whatever they desired, as it is written of him.
CTR: Elias is indeed come -- In a sense, to those who could receive it, John the Baptist had thus come, and had introduced Jesus as the Messiah. Pointing out that John had served as Elijah to those who receive him as Messiah. As John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus in the flesh, so the greater Elijah, the Church in the flesh, is the forerunner of the great Messiah on the spirit plane.
Not going on to explain to them how he and they and all of the faithful Church would, while in the flesh, represent the higher antitypical Elijah, and endeavor to do a restorative work, but without success.
Guzik: But I say to you that Elijah has also come: While it is true that Elijah is yet to come in reference to the second coming of Jesus, there is also a sense in which Elijah has also come - in the person of John the Baptist.
John was not a reincarnation of Elijah, but he did minister in the role and spirit of Elijah. John the Baptist was a type or a picture of Elijah.
Barnes: Elias is come already - That is, John the Baptist has come, in the spirit and power of Elias. See Luk_1:17.
They have done unto him whatsoever they listed - The word “list” is an old English word, signifying to choose, to desire, to be inclined. See Jdg_3:8. It means, here, that they had done to John as they pleased; that is, they had put him to death, Mat_14:10.
Mark adds Mar_9:12 that Jesus told them that it was “written of the Son of man that he must suffer many things, and be set at naught.” This was written of him particularly in Isa_53:1-12. To be set at naught is to be esteemed as worthless or as nothing; to be cast out and despised. No prophecy was ever more strikingly fulfilled. See Luk_23:11, Luk_23:14-21. This narrative, with some additions, is found in Mark 9:14-29, and Luk_9:37-43.
Matthew 17:13 KJV Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
Benson: Jesus answered, Elias truly shall first come, and restore, or regulate, all things — Jesus not only acknowledged the necessity of Elijah’s coming before the Messiah, according to Malachi’s prediction, but he assured his disciples that he was already come, and described the treatment he had met with from the nation in such a manner as to make them understand that he spake of John the Baptist. At the same time he told them, that though the Baptist’s ministry was excellently calculated to produce all the effects ascribed to it by the prophets, they need not be surprised to find that it had not all the success which might have been expected from it, and that the Baptist had met with much opposition and persecution. For, said he, both the person and the preaching of the Messiah himself shall meet with the same treatment.
Matthew 17:14 KJV And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
Matthew 17:15 KJV Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
Matthew 17:16 KJV And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
Guzik:. Have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic: This particular boy’s epileptic symptoms were demonic in origin (Mat_17:18), though this certainly could not be said about every case of epilepsy then or today.
b. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him: Sometimes Jesus’ followers fail, but Jesus never does. The man was wise for going straight to Jesus when His followers failed.
c. There are “ranks” of demonic powers (Eph_6:12), and evidently, some demons are stronger (more stubborn, resistant) than others. Since the disciples had been given the authority to cast out demons before (Mat_10:8), apparently this demon was more difficult than most.
Mar 9:14 MKJV And coming to His disciples, He saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them.
Barnes: Questioning with them - Debating with the disciples, and attempting to confound them. This he saw as he came down from the mount. In his absence they had taken occasion to attempt to perplex and confound his followers.
Guzik: Scribes disputing with them: From the context, it is reasonable to assume that scribes criticized the disciples for their inability to help the demon-possessed boy. “One wonders why these same scribes, instead of further embarrassing the crestfallen disciples before the crowd, did not set about exorcising the demon themselves, as a proof of orthodoxy.” (Cole)
1. “He found disputing scribes, a distracted father, a demon-possessed boy, and defeated disciples . . . He silenced the scribes, He comforted the father, He healed the boy, He instructed the disciples.” (Morgan)
Are you often surrounded by naysayers when you feel the Lord is not with you?
Do you feel Satan’s stronger when we are in the presence of the Lord?
Mar 9:15 MKJV And immediately all the crowd, seeing Him, were greatly amazed, and they were running to Him to greet Him.
Clarke --Were greatly amazed - Probably, because he came so unexpectedly; but the cause of this amazement is not self-evident.
Gill: Were greatly amazed; either that he should come at that juncture, to assist and relieve his disciples, when the Scribes were triumphing over them, as some think; or rather, as others, on account of that remaining lustre and glory which was on his countenance, through his transfiguration, and not yet wholly gone off; like that which was on the face of Moses, when he came down from Mount Sinai:
and running to him, saluted him; wishing him all peace and prosperity, expressing their great joy at his coming to them; which was very desirable by them, and exceedingly pleasing to them, and especially at this time, as both their words and gesture showed.
Do you run to the Lord when you see him?
Mar 9:16 MKJV And He asked the scribes, What are you discussing with them?
JFB: … addressing Himself to the scribes, He demands the subject of their discussion, ready to meet them where they had pressed hard upon His half-instructed and as yet timid apostles.
Benson: What question ye with them? — What is the subject of your dispute with them? What is the point you are debating so warmly? The scribes gave no answer to our Lord’s question. They did not care to repeat what they had said to his disciples: but one of the multitude said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, &c
Mar 9:17 MKJV And one of the crowd answered and said, Teacher, I have brought my son who has a dumb spirit to You.
PNT: One of the multitude. The scribes were silent, but the person most deeply interested answers. The subject of dispute was connected with the cure of the lunatic boy. The scribes feared to repeat their objections, lest our Lord should convict them in the presence of the multitude by working a miraculous cure. The hostility to our Lord was always cowardly!
I brought. He actually brought his son, expecting to find Christ, to thee, not knowing of His absence. It was his only son (Luk_9:38.)
A dumb spirit. A spirit causing the boy to be speechless; not that the demon was a silent one.
Barnes: A dumb spirit - A spirit which deprived his son of the power of speaking.
Guzik: A mute spirit: In the eyes of contemporary Jewish exorcists, this was a particularly difficult - if not impossible - demon to cast out. This was because they believed that you had to learn a demon’s name before you could cast it out, and if a demon made someone mute, you could never learn his name.
Do you bring your troubles to the Lord?
Mar 9:18 MKJV And wherever he seizes him, he dashes him. And he foams and gnashes his teeth and pines away. And I spoke to Your disciples that they should cast him out, and they could not.
Clarke --Pineth away - By these continual torments; so he was not only deaf and dumb, but sorely tortured besides.
Guzik: Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid: The boy displays signs that many today would regard as evidence of epilepsy, but Jesus perceived that they were caused by demonic possession. Surely, some of whom we diagnose as physically or mentally ill today are actually demon possessed.
i. “Jesus addresses the demon as a separate being from the boy as he often does. This makes it difficult to believe that Jesus was merely indulging popular belief in a superstition. He evidently regards the demon as the cause in this case of the boy’s misfortune.” (Robertson)
d. That they should cast it out, but they could not: This particular case of demon possession was too much for the disciples, though Jesus had given them authority over unclean spirits (Mar_6:7).
e. Apparently some demons are stronger - that is, more stubborn or intimidating than others. Eph_6:12 seems to describe different ranks of demonic beings, and it isn’t a stretch to think that some ranks might be more power than others are.
CTR: They could not -- So with us, occasionally by faith we go into the kingdom and see the glory of the Lord revealed, and then come down from the heights of contemplation to face the fealties of the present--the Adversary still in possession of the world, many his slaves and dupes, and no earthly power sufficient to cast him out.
Thus the Lord's people are still in the valley of conflict contending with the will of the flesh and the devil; yet their eyes of faith behold at the top of the mountain the glorious Lord, who will cause them to share in the glories of his kingdom.
Do you believe in demon possession today?
Matthew 17:17 KJV Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
Benson: Jesus answered, O faithless and perverse generation -- In these words our Lord might first intend to reprove both the disciples and the father of the child, for the weakness of their faith. With respect to the disciples, this appears evident from Mat_17:20; but the reproof, contained in the words, could not be designed principally for them: for though their faith was weak, they were not faithless, nor do they appear to have deserved so sharp a rebuke. It seems to have been intended for the people, and, perhaps, especially the scribes, who are mentioned, Mar_9:14, as disputing with the disciples, and, it should seem, insulting over them, as having now met with a case that was too hard for them; a distemper which they could not cure, even by the name and power of their Master. And this conduct of the scribes, which proceeded from their unbelief, was highly criminal, since Jesus had already given so many undeniable demonstrations of his power and divine mission. Therefore he treated them no worse than they deserved, in calling them a faithless and perverse generation, and in adding, how long shall I be with you — Namely, ere you be convinced? How long shall I suffer you, or bear with your infidelity? A reproof much more applicable to the scribes, than either to the disciples or the father of the child, the weakness of whose faith proceeded from human infirmity, rather than from wilful obstinacy and perverseness. After having thus rebuked the scribes, he turned to the father of the child, and said, Bring him hither to me — And while he brought him the evil spirit tare him, and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming, Mar_9:20; Luk_9:42. Doubtless Jesus could easily have prevented this attack of the devil, but he wisely permitted it, that the minds of the spectators might be impressed with a more lively sense of the young man’s distress. He then rebuked the devil. — Commanded him to come out of the youth, Mar_9:25. And the child was cured from that very hour — The cure was immediate and perfect! Great encouragement this to parents to bring their children, whose souls are under the power of Satan, to Christ, in the arms of faith and prayer! He is able to heal them, and as willing as able.
Mar 9:19 MKJV He answered him and said, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me!
Guzik: O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? Who does Jesus call the faithless generation? He might refer to the contentious scribes, to the desperate father, or to the unsuccessful disciples.
Gill: He answereth him,.... The father of the child, and who is included in the reproof afterwards given, for his unbelief, and taking part with the Scribes against his disciples; though the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, read, "them"; meaning not his disciples, but the Scribes and Pharisees, with the father of the child: and saith,
JFB: how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? — language implying that it was a shame to them to want the faith necessary to perform this cure, and that it needed some patience to put up with them. It is to us surprising that some interpreters, as Chrysostom and Calvin, should represent this rebuke as addressed, not to the disciples at all, but to the scribes who disputed with them. Nor does it much, if at all, mend the matter to view it as addressed to both, as most expositors seem to do. With Bengel, Deuteronomy Wette, and Meyer, we regard it as addressed directly to the nine apostles who were unable to expel this evil spirit. And though, in ascribing this inability to their “want of faith” and the “perverted turn of mind” which they had drunk in with their early training, the rebuke would undoubtedly apply, with vastly greater force, to those who twitted the poor disciples with their inability, it would be to change the whole nature of the rebuke to suppose it addressed to those who had no faith at all, and were wholly perverted. It was because faith sufficient for curing this youth was to be expected of the disciples, and because they should by that time have got rid of the perversity in which they had been reared, that Jesus exposes them thus before the rest. And who does not see that this was fitted, more than anything else, to impress upon the by-standers the severe loftiness of the training He was giving to the Twelve, and the unsophisticated footing He was on with them?
Bring him unto me — The order to bring the patient to Him was instantly obeyed; when, lo! as if conscious of the presence of his Divine Tormentor, and expecting to be made to quit, the foul spirit rages and is furious, determined to die hard, doing all the mischief he can to this poor child while yet within his grasp.
Are you faithless?
Does the Lord have to bear with you?
Matthew 17:18 KJV And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
Mar 9:20 MKJV And they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, the spirit immediately convulsed him. And he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming.
Clarke --When he saw him the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, etc. - When this demon saw Jesus, he had great rage, knowing that his time was short; and hence the extraordinary convulsions mentioned above.
Guzik: When Jesus comes near, the demon inside the boy knows that his time is short. He wants to do as much damage as he can before he leaves.
“However, it letteth us see how hardly the devil parteth with his possession in us in any degree, and how ready he is to run the length of his line in doing us mischief.” (Poole)
JFB: And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him — Just as the man with the legion of demons, “when he saw Jesus, ran and worshipped Him” (Mar_5:6), so this demon, when he saw Him, immediately “tare him.” The feeling of terror and rage was the same in both cases.
and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming — Still Jesus does nothing, but keeps conversing with the father about the case - partly to have its desperate features told out by him who knew them best, in the hearing of the spectators; partly to let its virulence have time to show itself; and partly to deepen the exercise of the father’s soul, to draw out his faith, and thus to prepare both him and the by-standers for what He was to do.
Do you hold on to the sins in your flesh, kicking and screaming when they are shown for what they are and need to be abandoned?
Does Satan have a hold of you?
Mar 9:21 MKJV And He asked his father, How long ago has it been since this came to him? And he said, From childhood.
Gill: And he asked his father,.... As he lay rolling about in this miserable condition, that the length and stubbornness of his disorder might be known, and so the cure the more remarkable, and appear the more expressive of his divine power and goodness:
JFB: And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child, etc. — Having told briefly the affecting features of the case, the poor father, half dispirited by the failure of the disciples and the aggravated virulence of the malady itself in presence of their Master, yet encouraged too by what he had heard of Christ, by the severe rebuke He had given … for not having faith enough to cure the boy, and by the dignity with which He had ordered him to be brought to Him - in this mixed state of mind, he closes his description of the case with these touching words:
Mar 9:22 MKJV And oftentimes it has cast him into the fire and into the waters to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.
Clarke: If Thou canst Do any thing - I have already tried thy disciples, and find they can do nothing in this case; but if thou hast any power, in mercy use it in our behalf.
CTR: Ofttimes -- This case was one of occasional obsession by an evil spirit.
To destroy him -- There are modern cases where obsession has induced suicide attempts.
Do you come to the Lord with all your troubles?
Mar 9:23 MKJV Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.
Clarke --If Thou canst Believe - This was an answer to the inquiry above. I can furnish a sufficiency of power, if thou canst but bring faith to receive it. Why are not our souls completely healed? Why is not every demon cast out? Why are not pride, self-will, love of the world, lust, anger, peevishness, with all the other bad tempers and dispositions which constitute the mind of Satan, entirely destroyed? Alas! it is because we do not believe; Jesus is able; more, Jesus is willing; but we are not willing to give up our idols; we give not credence to his word; therefore hath sin a being in us, and dominion over us.
CTR: If thou canst believe -- How great stress the Lord lays upon faith! Our blessings increase in proportion as we will exercise our faith.
Do you believe?
Mar 9:24 MKJV And immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
Guzik: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief: The poor father in this account is challenged by Jesus’ exhortation for faith. He did believe in Jesus’ power to deliver his boy - after all, why else would he have come to Jesus? But he also recognizes his doubts. So, he tearfully pleads with Jesus: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!
i. In this case, the man’s unbelief was not a rebellion against or a rejection the Lord’s promise. He did not deny the Lord’s promise; he desired it. However, it just seemed too good to be true. Thus, he says, “help my unbelief!”
ii. “Help my unbelief” is something a man can only say by faith. “While men have no faith, they are unconscious of their unbelief; but, as soon as they get a little faith, then they begin to be conscious of the greatness of their unbelief.” (Spurgeon)
Clarke Help thou mine unbelief - That is, assist me against it. Give me a power to believe.
CTR: Lord, I believe -- The father realized from Jesus' words that the difficulty rested with him, that he must exercise faith else his son could not be recovered
Barnes: Said with tears - The man felt the implied rebuke in the Saviour’s language; and feeling grieved that he should be thought to be destitute of faith, and feeling deeply for the welfare of his afflicted son, he wept. Nothing can be more touching or natural than this. An anxious father, distressed at the condition of his son, having applied to the disciples in vain, now coming to the Saviour; and not having full confidence that he had the proper qualification to be aided, he wept. Any man would have wept in his condition, nor would the Saviour turn the weeping suppliant away.
I believe - I have faith. I do put confidence in thee, though I know that my faith is not as strong as it should be.
Help thou mine unbelief - Supply thou the defects of my faith. Give me strength and grace to put “entire” confidence in thee. Everyone who comes to the Saviour for help has need of offering this prayer. In our unbelief and our doubts we need his aid, nor shall we ever put sufficient reliance on him without his gracious help.
Do you ask the Lord to help your unbelief (when you faulter in faith)?
Mar 9:25 MKJV And seeing that a crowd is running together, Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter no more into him!
Gill: When Jesus saw that the people came running together,.... לותיה, "to him", as the Syriac version adds, and so the Persic; upon hearing the vehement cry of the father of the child, and the earnest solicitations he made, expecting that something would be done
Clarke --I charge thee - Considerable emphasis should be laid on the pronoun: - Thou didst resist the command of my disciples, now I command thee to come out. If this had been only a natural disease, for instance the epilepsy, as some have argued, could our Lord have addressed it, with any propriety, as he has done here: Thou deaf and dumb spirit, come out of him, and enter no more into him? Is the doctrine of demoniacal influence false? If so, Jesus took the most direct method to perpetuate the belief of that falsity, by accommodating himself so completely to the deceived vulgar. But this was impossible; therefore the doctrine of demoniacal influence is a true doctrine, otherwise Christ would never have given it the least countenance or support.
Benson: When Jesus saw the people running together — The vehemence with which the father of the child spake, occasioned by the greatness of his grief, brought the crowd about them. Jesus, therefore, to prevent further disturbance, immediately commanded the unclean spirit to depart from the youth, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit — So termed because he made the child deaf and dumb: when Jesus spake, the devil heard, though the child could not: I charge thee — I myself, now; not my disciples; come out of him, and enter no more into him — Leave him instantly, and presume not any more to trouble or disquiet him as long as he lives.
Mar 9:26 MKJV And the spirit cried out, throwing him into convulsions, and came out of him. And he was like one dead, so that many said, He is dead.
Mar 9:27 MKJV But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
Guzik: Jesus had no difficulty whatsoever in dealing the demon, even though the demon made a final display of his terrible strength. Knowing he must leave, the demon did the most damage he could before he left. But it was not lasting damage.
i. “He will do what harm he can when he cannot do us the harm he would.” (Poole)
Benson: And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, &c. — Scarcely had Jesus uttered the word when the devil came out of the child, making a hideous howling, and convulsing him to such a degree, that he lay senseless and without motion, as one dead, till Jesus took him by the hand, instantly brought him to life, and then delivered him to his father perfectly recovered.
Expositors: The evil being obeys, yet proves his reluctance by screaming and convulsing his victim for the last time, so that he, though healed, lies utterly prostrate, and "the more part said, He is dead." It was a fearful exhibition of the disappointed malice of the pit. But it only calls forth another display of the power and love of Jesus, Who will not leave the sufferer to a gradual recovery, nor speak, as to the fiend, in words of mere authority, but reaches forth His benign hand, and raises him, restored. Here we discover the same heart which provided that the daughter of Jairus should have food, and delivered her son to the widow of Nain, and was first to remind others that Lazarus was encumbered by his grave-clothes. The good works of Jesus were not melodramatic marvels for stage effect: they were the natural acts of supernatural power and love.
Matthew 17:19 KJV Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
Matthew 17:20 KJV And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Guzik: Because of your unbelief: Jesus laid the inability of the disciples to cast out the demon at their unbelief. To be successful in casting out demons, there must be trust in the Lord God who has total authority over the demons.
b. If you have faith as a mustard seed: The faith that we must have is a faith that has more to do with what kind of faith it is than with how much faith there is. A small amount of faith - as much as a mustard seed (a very small seed) - can accomplish great things, if that small amount of faith is placed in a great and mighty God.
i. Little faith can accomplish great things; but great faith can accomplish even greater things. What matters most is what our faith is in, the object of our faith. “The eye cannot see itself. Did you ever see your own eye? In a mirror you may have done so, but that was only a reflection of it. And you may, in like manner, see the evidence of your faith, but you cannot look at the faith itself. Faith looks away to itself to the object of faith, even to Christ.” (Spurgeon)
Matthew 17:21 KJV Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Guzik: This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting: We show our faith in and reliance on God through prayer and fasting. It displays an occupation with and dependence on Jesus.
i. Great prayer and fasting also display earnestness before God that brings answer to prayer. Often, we pray dispassionately, almost asking God to care about things we care nothing about.
ii. We must be willing to go far in breaking demonic dominion. If the devil knows you will give up easily, then it won’t be much of a fight. God looks for steadfast warriors who are willing to sacrifice and fight until the battle is won.
Mar 9:28 MKJV And He entering into a house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could we not cast him out?
Mar 9:29 MKJV And He said to them, This kind can come out by nothing except by prayer and fasting.
Guzik: Why could we not cast it out? Jesus reveals the reason for their weakness: it was due to a lack of prayer and fasting.
b. It isn’t that prayer and fasting make us more “worthy” to cast out demons; it is that prayer and fasting draw us closer to the heart of God, and they put us more in line with His power. They are an expression of our total dependence on Him.
i. Jesus had already given them the authority to cast out demons (Mar_3:14-15), but “The authority that Jesus had given them was effective only if exercised by faith, but faith must be cultivated through spiritual discipline and devotion.” (Wiersbe)
ii. This total dependence on God is the remedy for many spiritual problems. To be disappointed in yourself is to have trusted in yourself.
CTR: -- Showing that their greatest power would result from their living lives of self-denial and prayer. God's people could accomplish much more if they would always exercise full faith in the Lord, and continually live more in the spirit and less according to the flesh.
Clarke Prayer and fasting - This demon may be considered as an emblem of deeply rooted vices, and inveterate habits, over which the conquest is not generally obtained, but through extraordinary humiliations.
When you have a tough trial that you can’t seem to overcome, do you try prayer and fasting?
Matthew 17:22 KJV And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
Guzik: The Son of Man is about to be betrayed: Though they were frequent, these reminders about Jesus’ suffering and resurrection were forgotten by the disciples until after His resurrection (Luk_24:6-8).
Mar 9:30 MKJV And going out from there, they passed through Galilee. And He desired that no one should know.
Gill: And they departed thence,.... From the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, from that part of the country where the mountain was, on which Christ was transfigured, and at the foot of which the above miracle was wrought. This is to be understood of Christ and his twelve disciples, though the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read in the singular number, "he went out"; not alone, but with his disciples, as the following account shows:
and passed through Galilee; in order to go to the coasts of Judea, and so to Jerusalem, where he was shortly to suffer: and therefore that his journey might not be retarded, and he be hindered by the conversation of the people in Galilee, and their importunity to stay with them, and teach, and work miracles among them, he passed through the country, in as private a manner as could be:
and he would not that any man should know it; partly for the reason just mentioned, and partly that he might have the opportunity of conversing alone with his disciples, and of reminding, and informing them, of some important things, which it was necessary they should be acquainted with, and observe.
Do you allow yourself quiet times where you can reflect on God’s Word, and discuss it with those closest to you?
Matthew 17:23 KJV And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
Guzik: b. And the third day He will be raised up: Jesus rarely told His disciples about His coming death without also telling of His coming resurrection. We know that the disciples didn’t really comprehend the glorious triumph of the resurrection, because they were exceedingly sorrowful.
Mar 9:31 MKJV For He taught His disciples and said to them, The Son of Man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him. And after He is killed, He shall rise the third day.
JFB: For he taught his disciples, and said unto them — “Let these sayings sink down into your ears” (Luk_9:44); not what had been passing between them as to His grandeur, but what He was now to utter.
Gill: The son of man is delivered into the hands of men: in one of Beza's copies it is read, "sinful men", as in Luk_24:7 and so the Persic version reads here, and adds rebellious. This is represented as if it was already done, because it was determined and agreed upon, that it should be; and because, in a very little time, the son of man would be delivered into the hands of wicked men, according to the will of God, with his own consent, by the means of Judas, the Jews, and Pilate:
and they shall kill him; put him to death, in a violent manner, contrary to all law and justice:
and after that he is killed; this is omitted in the Arabic version, and in the Persic version in the room of it it is read, "and shall put him into a sepulchre"; that being what followed next upon his death:
and he shall rise the third day. This Christ always takes care to mention, for the comfort of his disciples, when he tells them of his death.
Mar 9:32 MKJV But they did not understand that saying and were afraid to ask Him.
Guzik: The disciples couldn’t “process” what Jesus said about His destiny in Jerusalem - to die and then rise again. Unfortunately, they were afraid to ask.
Benson: But they understood not that saying — They could not comprehend how he, who was to abide on earth for ever, and was to deliver others from the universal destroyer, should himself fall under his stroke: Or, they could not reconcile his death, nor consequently his resurrection, which supposed his death, with their notions of his temporal kingdom: Luke says, And it was hid from them, namely, by their own prejudices and misconceptions concerning the Messiah. For, seeing he spake of rising again the third day, they were not able to divine any reason for his dying at all, being ignorant, as yet, of the nature and ends of his death. And they were afraid to ask him — Taking no comfort from the mention that was made of his resurrection, the prediction raised such fears in their minds, that they durst not ask him to explain it; especially as they remembered that he had often inculcated it, and had reprimanded Peter for being unwilling to hear it.
If you don’t understand something in God’s Word or how God is working in your life—are you afraid to ask?
Matthew 17:24 KJV And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
Barnes: They that received tribute - This was in addition to the tithes paid by the whole nation, and seems to have been considered as a voluntary offering. It was devoted to the purchase of animals for the daily sacrifice, wood, flour, salt, incense, etc., for the use of the temple.
Doth not your master pay tribute? - This tribute was voluntary, and they therefore asked him whether he was in the habit of paying taxes for the support of the temple. Peter replied that it was his custom to pay all the usual taxes of the nation.
Benson: When they were come to Capernaum — Where our Lord now dwelt. Hence the collectors of the sacred tribute did not ask him for it till he came to this the ordinary place of his residence. They that received the tribute-money came to Peter — Whose house was in Capernaum, and probably in his house Jesus now lodged, and therefore he was the most fit to be spoken to as being the house-keeper, and they presumed he knew his Master’s mind.
And said, Doth not your Master pay tribute? — This was a tribute or payment of a peculiar kind, being half a shekel, (that is, about fifteen pence,) which every master of a family used to pay yearly to the service of the temple: to buy salt, and little things not otherwise provided for. It seems to have been a voluntary thing, which custom, rather than any law, had established. He (Peter) saith, Yes — My Master pays tribute. It is his practice to pay it, and I doubt not that he will pay it now.
Matthew 17:25 KJV He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
Matthew 17:26 KJV Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Barnes: Jesus prevented him - That is, Jesus commenced speaking before Peter, or spoke before Peter had told him what he had said. This implies that, though not present with Peter when he gave the answer, yet Jesus was acquainted with what he had said.
Prevent - To go before, or precede.
Or of strangers? - The word “strangers” does not mean foreigners, but those that were not their own sons or members of their family. Peter replied that tribute was collected of those out of their own family. Jesus answered, Then are the children, or sons of the kings, free; that is, taxes are not required of them. The meaning of this may be thus expressed: “Kings do not tax their own sons. This tribute-money is taken up for the temple service; that is, the service of my Father. I, therefore, being the Son of God, for whom this is taken up, cannot be lawfully required to pay this tribute.” This argument is based on the supposition that this was a religious, and not a civil tax. If it had been the latter, the illustration would not have been pertinent.
Guzik: From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers? Peter gave the quick and natural answer to this question. But then Jesus explained that He is not liable to pay this tax, because the Father doesn’t require it of His own Son.
Benson: And when he came into the house Jesus prevented him — Just when Peter was going to ask him for it: Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom, &c. — Of whom are they accustomed to take it? Of their children, &c. — Of their own families, or of others? Peter saith — Of strangers — Of persons not belonging to their families. Jesus saith, Then are the children free — From any such demand. The sense is, This tribute is paid for the use of the house of God. But I am the Son of God. Therefore I am free from any obligation of paying this to my own Father.
Matthew 17:27 KJV Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
Guzik: (Mat_17:27) Jesus pays the tax anyway, and by miraculous provision.
Cast in a hook: Peter was a professional fisherman who used nets, not a hook and a line. It must have humbled Peter to fish like this manner, and we can imagine that he hoped none of his other fisherman friends saw him trying to catch one fish at a time.
b. Take that and give it to them for Me and you: Jesus trusted in the miraculous provision of God. It’s not everyday - or any day - that you catch a fish and take a coin out of its mouth. But Jesus used God’s provision to pay His taxes - not out of obligation before God, because He is the Son - but out of a desire to not offend
Barnes: Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them - That is, lest they should think that we despise the temple and its service, and thus provoke needless opposition; though we are not under obligation to pay it, yet it is best to pay it to them.
Go to the sea - This was at Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias.
Thou shalt find a piece of money - In the original, thou shalt find a stater, a Roman silver coin of the value of four drachmas, or one shekel, and of course sufficient to pay the tribute for two - himself and Peter.
Benson: Lest we should offend them — That is, give them occasion to say that I despise the temple and its service, and teach my disciples so to do; go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, &c. — He sends Peter to the lake with a line and a hook, telling him, that in the mouth of the first fish that came up, he should find a stater, (στατηρα) a Grecian piece of money so called, equal to two didrachma, or one shekel of Jewish money, the sum required for himself and Peter; Peter having a family of his own, and the other apostles being the family of Jesus. How illustrious a degree of knowledge and power did our Lord here discover! Knowledge penetrating into this animal, though beneath the waters; and power, in directing this very fish to Peter’s hook, though he himself was at a distance! How must this have encouraged both Peter and his brethren in a firm dependance on Divine Providence! “Jesus chose to provide this tribute-money by a miracle, either because the disciple who carried the bag was absent, or because he had not as much money as was necessary. Further, he chose to provide it by this particular miracle, rather than any other, because it was of such a kind as to demonstrate that he was the Son of the Great Monarch worshipped in the temple, who rules the universe. Wherefore, in the very manner of his paying this tax, he showed Peter that he was free from all taxes; and at the same time gave his followers this useful lesson, that, in matters which affect their property in a smaller degree, it is better to recede somewhat from their just rights, than, by stubbornly insisting on them, to offend their brethren, or disturb the state.” — Macknight.