Matthew 17: The Transfiguration

Why didn’t Jesus take all his disciples with him up the mountain?

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Matthew 17:1 Six days after Jesus told the disciples about his need to die, he took Simon Peter and the two brothers, James and John, to be alone, high up on the mountain.
King James
Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

What caused Jesus’ appearance to change?

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Matthew 17:2 The three saw his whole appearance change. His face shone bright as the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.
King James
Matthew 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

How could Moses and Elijah, being dead, appear and talk with Jesus? What did they talk about?

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Matthew 17:3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with him.
Luke 9:31 They also stood in brilliant glory while they talked about his death, which was to take place in Jerusalem.
King James
Matthew 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Luke 9:31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

Why did Peter think it appropriate to have shrines for Moses and Elijah?

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Matthew 17:4 Peter said, “Sir, it is wonderful to be here. If you want, we can build three shrines here—for you, Moses, and Elijah.”
King James
Matthew 17:4 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.

What did the disciples learn from the voice from the cloud?

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Matthew 17:5–6 While Peter was still speaking, a brilliant cloud overshadowed them.
A voice came from the cloud. “This is my dearly loved son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”
When the disciples heard the voice, they fell facedown on the ground, terrified.
King James
Matthew 17:5–6 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. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

What effect did Jesus’ advice and touch have?

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Matthew 17:7–8 Jesus came and touched them. “Get up, and do not be afraid.”
When they looked around, no one was there except Jesus.
King James
Matthew 17:7–8 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

Why did Jesus want the three disciples to keep their mountain experience secret? How well do you think they followed that command?

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Matthew 17:9 As they came down the mountain, Jesus said, “Do not tell anyone what you saw, not until after the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”
King James
Matthew 17:9 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.

What prompted the disciples question about Elijah?

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Matthew 17:10 The disciples said to Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the Law say Elijah must come before the Messiah comes?”
King James
Matthew 17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

How could John the Baptizer be the fulfillment of prophecy concerning Elijah?

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Malachi 4:5–6 See, I will send the prophet Elijah before that awesome and fearful day when the Lord comes. He will soften the hearts of fathers toward their children and children toward their fathers. Otherwise, I would come and curse the earth.
Matthew 17:11–13 “They are right,” Jesus said. “Elijah comes first, to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. The truth is, Elijah has already come, but people did not recognize who he was. Instead, they chose to abuse him. In the same way, they will cause the Son of Man to suffer.”
Then they understood that he was talking about John the Baptizer.
King James
Malachi 4:5–6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Matthew 17:11–13 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 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. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Who were the people who did not recognize John the Baptizer or Jesus?

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Matthew 17:12 “The truth is, Elijah has already come, but people did not recognize who he was. Instead, they chose to abuse him. In the same way, they will cause the Son of Man to suffer.”
King James
Matthew 17:12 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.

Why couldn’t the disciples heal the man’s son? Why did they think they should have been able to?

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Matthew 17:14–21 When they arrived where a large crowd was waiting, a man came and knelt before Jesus. “Sir, have mercy on my son because he is out of his mind and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
Jesus said, “How long must I be with this faithless and corrupt generation? How long must I put up with you? Bring your son to me.” Jesus spoke against the evil spirit, and it came out of the boy and left.
From that moment, the boy was well.
Later, the disciples talked to Jesus privately. “Why couldn’t we cast out the evil spirit?”
“Your faith did not work because it had no God connection. The truth is, if you had real faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell this mountain to move and it could not stand still. Nothing would be impossible. That is why you need to fast and pray.”
King James
Matthew 17:14–21 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 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. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 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. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 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. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

What did a “faithless and corrupt generation” have to do with the man’s son not being healed?

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Matthew 17:17 Jesus said, “How long must I be with this faithless and corrupt generation? How long must I put up with you? Bring your son to me.”
King James
Matthew 17:17 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.

How did the disciples’ faith differ from what Jesus had?

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Matthew 17:20 “Your faith did not work because it had no God connection. The truth is, if you had real faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell this mountain to move and it could not stand still. Nothing would be impossible.”
King James
Matthew 17:20 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.

Believing doesn’t always change the impossible to possible. What kind of faith is needed to move mountains?

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Matthew 17:20 “Your faith did not work because it had no God connection. The truth is, if you had real faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell this mountain to move and it could not stand still. Nothing would be impossible.”
King James
Matthew 17:20 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.

Why was it important for the disciples to fast and pray when Jesus hadn’t?

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Matthew 17:21 “That is why you need to fast and pray.”
King James
Matthew 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

If Jesus had already told the disciples about his death, why did he need to tell them again? How well do you think he understood what he said?

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Matthew 16:21 From that time, Jesus began to explain to his disciples his need to go to Jerusalem and endure great suffering at the hand of government officials, chief priests, and teachers of the Law. “I will be killed,” he said, “but three days later I will rise to life.”
17:1 Six days after Jesus told the disciples about his need to die, he took Simon Peter and the two brothers, James and John, to be alone, high up on the mountain.
17:22–23 While they were still in Galilee, Jesus told his disciples, “The Son of Man will soon be betrayed into the hands of men who will kill him. On the third day, he will rise to life again.” The disciples were deeply grieved.
King James
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
17:22–23 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Why might Peter have said Jesus paid the Temple tax when he wasn’t sure he did?

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Matthew 17:24–25 When Jesus and the disciples arrived in Capernaum, collectors of the Temple tax said to Simon Peter, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?”
“Yes, of course he does.”
When Peter arrived at the house, Jesus spoke to him before he could ask if he had answered correctly. “Tell me what you think. When kings collect taxes, who pays, their sons or strangers?”
King James
Matthew 17:24–25 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 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?

Why did Jesus say they should pay the tax?

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Matthew 17:26–27 “The strangers.”
“Then the sons are exempt. However, there is no need to offend the tax collectors. Go to the lakeshore and drop a baited hook. As soon as you catch a fish, open its mouth. There you will find a coin. Take it and pay the taxes for both of us.”
King James
Matthew 17:26–27 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. 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.

How did Jesus know a coin would be in the mouth of the one fish Peter caught? How was Peter affected by this experience?

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Matthew 17:27 “However, there is no need to offend the tax collectors. Go to the lakeshore and drop a baited hook. As soon as you catch a fish, open its mouth. There you will find a coin. Take it and pay the taxes for both of us.”
King James
Matthew 17:27 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.