Verse 1 – Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, brought them up on a high mountain by themselves,
Verse 2 – and was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
Do you have three close friends? Most people have a lot of friends, but will have one, if they are blessed; two if they are really blessed; or three close friends that they are really intimate with. Out of all the disciples Jesus had, three very special friends. Jesus appearance changed right before their eyes! His face shone as bright as the sun and His garments were as white as snow. He was as pure and bright as anything that had never been seen before.
Verse 3 – And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Moses and Elijah were the two greatest prophets of the Old Testament. Moses represented the law and Elijah represented all the prophets that had spoken of the coming Messiah. By both of these two appearing they confirmed Jesus mission: To fulfill the law and the words of God’s prophets.
There are two distinctions between the two though. Moses died and Elijah didn’t. This scripture tells me that both were in heaven with the presence of God. Moses wasn’t asleep, laying in the ground somewhere waiting for the second coming. There’s another scripture in Luke 16:19-31, where Lazarus is in Abraham’s bosom. I believe the Bible is very clear about where the true Christian goes when they die. 2 Corinthians 5:8 – ( Paul’s writing) We are confident, yet, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
Verse 4 – Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “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.’
Peter wanted to capture this moment and stay there. However, this was a time of worship and adoration, remember, and then move on.
Verse 5 – While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
This is God speaking to the disciples. He wanted no misunderstanding of Jesus authority over them. He was to be honored above all else. Listen to Him and obey. After this, it was impossible for them to doubt that He was truly the Son of God. Sometimes we need to just be quiet and listen. God has a lot to say, if we will only listen.
Verse 6 – And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.
Verse 7 – But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”
Verse 8 – And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
Verse 9 – Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.
Jesus didn’t want the disciples trying to explain what they didn’t fully understand as of yet. This is proved in their following question.
Verse 10 – And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must first come?”
Verse 11 – Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Elijah is truly coming first and will restore all things.
Verse 12 – “But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.”
Based on Malachi 4:5, 6, the scribes believed Elijah must appear before the Messiah would appear. Jesus was referring to John the Baptist, not Elijah. John the Baptist took on Elijah’s prophetic role – boldly confronting sin and pointing God’s people to the Messiah. Malachi had prophesied that a prophet “like” Elijah would come.
Verse 13 – Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
Instruction About Faith
Verse 14 – And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying,
Verse 15 – “Lord have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.
Verse 16 – “So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
In Matthew 10:8 Jesus had given His twelve disciples the power to cast out demons, even to raise the dead, so could these disciples have been others that were following Jesus? Because there were others. The Bible is not clear because it just says disciples.
Verse 17 – Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’
Jesus applied this to the Jews that were standing around, not to his disciples. The Jews had twisted the truth which perverted it.
Verse 18 – And Jesus rebuked the demon, and he came out of him; and the child was cured from that hour.
Either epilepsy is directly connected to a demon-possession, or the father of the child misdiagnosed the son. Jesus said it was a demon, you decide.
Verse 19 – Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast him out?”
Oh, there’s our proof! These were some of the twelve, because only the twelve were close enough to Jesus to speak privately to Him.
Verse 20 – So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from her to there;’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Verse 21 – “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
Verse 21, does not appear in the oldest and best manuscripts of Matthew. However, it is in Mark 9:29 manuscript, so it was probably applied by the scribes to Matthew’s.
Verse 22 – Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men,
Verse 23 – “and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.
Though what Jesus said was plain enough, the disciples didn’t understand it, because they couldn’t see how He could be the Messiah, and yet be put to death and then raised again unto life.
Verse 24 – And when they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”
Verse 25 – He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their own sons or from strangers?”
Verse 26 – Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.
Verse 27 – “Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”
Poor Peter. Once again he answered a question without fully understanding it. Jesus was kind to him though. Jesus emphasized that a king paid no taxes and collected no taxes for their own family. Jesus was King so He owed no taxes. However, to not set off a war, He instructed Peter to go get the money from a fish.
This is our lesson too – While living here on earth, Christians are to respect laws and rules from those in authority because we are ambassadors for Christ and that’s what He did (2 Corinthians 5:20).