Jesus, throughout His ministry, showed us that we need faith. Yet, several times He admonishes the disciples for having too little faith. The most prominent one being when Peter wanted to walk on water like Jesus. He was doing it until the storm wiped his faith away and he lost his focus on Jesus and started sinking. That’s exactly what happens to us. Life gets between us and Jesus. Life does that.
In this chapter we see God’s Glory, and later Jesus again criticizes the disciples for having too little faith. Let’s dig in….
Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. 2 As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. 3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.
4 Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters (tabernacles) as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” 6 The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.
7 Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.
9 As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
10 Then his disciples asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?”
11 Jesus replied, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.” 13 Then the disciples realized he was talking about John the Baptist.
Here we see Jesus’ divinity and God’s true Glory revealed. If the disciples had any doubts about the fact that Jesus was God Himself, this experience should have erased it.
Why Moses and Elijah?
Here is a quote from Third Millennium…
This was significant because Moses was the lawgiver and liberator of God’s people, and Elijah was the faithful prophet that called the nation of Israel back from apostasy [turning away from God]. It meant that Jesus stood in continuity with the law and the prophets and that he was fulfilling the expectations set by the greatest leaders of Israel’s past. But it also meant that he was the greatest anointed one of all, the final Davidic heir [Son of David] who was bringing God’s kingdom to earth.Third Millennium
As a believer, you, too, can see Jesus just like they did! Continuing…
Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy
14 At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”
17 Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.
19 Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?”
20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
Everything is Possible with God
Here we have two different faith issues…
He struggled trying to find someone who could help his son. Jesus wanted this man to exercise faith that God could heal his son – without Jesus present. God could use Jesus’ disciples just as well as having Jesus do it. This man did not understand the authority of God present in Jesus’ disciples.
They struggled and could not deal with the demon. The disciples had the “formula” for dealing with this, but struggled when it did not happen quickly. They were on the right track but stopped too soon – it needed prayer and fasting in addition to what they knew to do. They did not have the faith and confidence in what Jesus told them to do when it took longer than they expected.
Two different faith issues. If you had to deal with this situation, which area would you struggle in your faith?Bible study in the free YouVersion Bible app by Al Ain Evangelical Church
Jesus Again Predicts His Death
22 After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. 23 He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” And the disciples were filled with grief.
Payment of the Temple Tax
24 On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?”
25 “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house.
But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?”
26 “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied.
“Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! 27 However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”Matthew 17 NLT
Paid in Full
Jewish men ages 20-50 were required to pay a temple tax. It was a requirement not like a tithe — giving back in gratitude of what God’s given you, which is voluntary and should be done cheerfully. However, the King doesn’t tax His own family. Jesus provided just enough to pay for both Him and Peter. God provides.
How to Grow in Your Faith
First, you must….
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
- Start reading the Bible daily to get to know God. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven and that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…