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Matthew 17

Faith, Hope and Sensitivity (Matthew 17)


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The coming of Elijah (Mt. 17:11)

Curing of Psychosomatic Illness




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Matthew 17

Jesus is transfigured
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone as the sun and his garments became white as the light. 3 And there appeared before them Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. 4 And Peter said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here. If it pleases you, I will make here three tabernacles- one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah. 5 While he was yet speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear him! 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face and were terrified. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said: Arise and be not afraid. 8 And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, save Jesus only.
   9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying: Tell the vision to no one, until the Son of Man be risen from the dead. 10 And his disciples asked him: Why do the scribes say that Elijah must first come? 11 And he answered and said: Elijah indeed comes and shall restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, that Elijah came already and they knew him not, but did to him whatever they would. Likewise shall the Son of Man suffer by their hands. 13 Then understood the disciples that he spoke to them of John the Baptist.
Jesus heals an epileptic and teaches about faith
14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and knelt before him, saying: 15 Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is epileptic and suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to your disciples but they could not cure him. 17 And Jesus answered and said: O faithless and perverse generation! How long shall I be with you? How long must I tolerate you? Bring him here to me. 18 And Jesus rebuked him; and the demon went out of him and the boy was cured from that moment.
   19 Then came the disciples to Jesus privately, and said: Why could we not cast it out? 20 And he said to them: Because of your little faith. For truly I say to you: If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing shall be impossible for you. 21 But this kind will not go out except by prayer and fasting.

Jesus repeats that He is to die and rise again
22 And while they stayed in Galilee, Jesus said to them: The Son of Man shall be delivered up into the hands of men, 23 and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised up. And they were greatly distressed.
Jesus teaches about the true freedom of sons of God
 24 And when they arrived in Capernaum, they that collected the tribute money came to Peter, and said: Does not your teacher pay the tribute money? 25 He said: Yes. And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first of all, saying: Simon. What do you think? The kings of the earth, from whom do they receive toll or tribute? From their own children, or from strangers? 26 And when he said ‘From strangers’, Jesus said to him: Therefore the children are free. 27 However, not to give offence to them, go to the sea, cast a hook and 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 me and for yourself.



17:9 “The vision” [Gk.]. Moses and Elijah weren’t literally there, they were seen by the disciples in a vision.

17:11 An Elijah prophet will come to Israel in the last days to prepare them for the return of Christ, just as John the Baptist tried to prepare them for His first coming [see Malachi 4].

17:15 Lunatic [Gk.]- someone struck by the moon. The belief that the moon struck people at night causing them to go mad was a wrong understanding. But Jesus didn’t explicitly correct this. He showed by the magnitude of His miracle that such beliefs, whether or not they had any truth in them, were irrelevant compared to God’s power. Hence references to demon possession decrease throughout the Gospels and New Testament- it became apparent that they don’t exist, or if they do, they are irrelevant compared to God’s power.

17:17 Again Jesus shows His frustration with their lack of spiritual perception- see on 15:16; 16:11. To be frustrated isn’t sinful- for Jesus never sinned. If He so desires understanding from us- let’s give ourselves to trying to understand. And surely He will help us if we ask Him.

17:20 Just a small amount of real faith is very powerful. Faith is so powerful that you don’t need much of it- just a little of the real thing is quite enough.

17:25 Jesus paid tribute tax even when He didn’t have to and when the reasoning behind the demand for it was wrong. We should do the same. We cannot change geopolitics now; we must wait for His return and the coming of God’s Kingdom.

17:27 Jesus was very sensitive to not making people spiritually stumble. Even people whom we would consider as disinterested in His Gospel.