John the Baptist
as Elijah (17:9-13)
Epileptic Child (17:14-21)
Prediction of Death and Resurrection (17:22-23)
Temple Tax from A Fish
beloved Son, hear Him, Jesus only, Elijah, faith, prayer and fasting.
1. Peter, James,
and John. These three were the Lord’s closest disciples, whom Jesus also
brought along to the house of Jairus (Lk 8:51) and into Gethsemane
(Mk 14:33). It is most likely that the Lord chose these three to be his closest
company and to give them special training because they will be crucial
witnesses and workers in the apostolic church after the Lord’s resurrection.
appearance tells us who Jesus was. Both were great prophets and mighty workers
in the Old Testament. Moses represented the Law and Elijah the Prophets, both
of which Jesus fulfilled (Mt 5:17; 11:12-13). The transfiguration teaches us
that Jesus, being greater than Moses and Elijah, was the one all the prophets
had been waiting for.
3. He did not
understand that it was the Lord Jesus that they must look to and “hear” (5,8). The appearance of Moses and Elijah was only to confirm
that Jesus was the Christ and the beloved Son of God. Peter’s desire to remain
on the mountain was also out of place because the Lord did not intend to stay
on the mountain. He had to continue His mission and suffer in order to achieve
glory. Likewise, the disciples must also suffer for the kingdom before they
could receive the glory in the future.
4. He is the
beloved Son of God, who came to do the will of the Father. The Lord’s ministry
and ultimate sacrifice were truly pleasing to God (Jn
8:29; Heb 10:5-10). The words also recall Moses’ prophecy about the Messiah
(Deut 18:15). The Lord Jesus was sent from God; His words are the words of God.
We will not escape if we ignore His solemn message (Heb 2:3-4). But if we hear
His voice and obey Him, we will have life.
5a. 1) To give the disciples a preview of the Son of Man in glory so
that they know for certain that the followers of Christ will receive reward on
that day (16:27). The experience had left a deep impression on the three
apostles. Peter could still recall this experience in his old age when he
witnessed to the believers about the coming of the Lord (2Pet 1:16-18).
2) To confirm that Jesus was the Christ whom
the prophets of the past had spoken about.
5b. As great and powerful as Moses and Elijah were, they were
servants of Christ. Peter was reminded by the voice to look to the beloved Son,
not the passing appearance of Moses and Elijah. Likewise, we must fix our eyes
on the Lord Jesus alone. All workers of God, however gifted they may be, are
only to help us build up our faith in Jesus.
disciples’ glimpse into glory had to end and they must move on. Likewise, we
cannot expect to always remain in temporary phenomena, such as seeing miracles,
powerful preaching, or excitement during convocations. We must seek to be close
to the Lord and follow Him to the end even when the future glory seems to be
nowhere in sight.
6a. See Mal 4:5,6.
6b. He came in
the spirit and power of Elijah, preaching repentance and turning people’s
hearts to the Lord (Lk 1:15-16).
7. He was
disappointed and saddened by the unbelief of the people, including the
disciples (cf. Mk 9:23).
8. With faith in
the Lord, nothing is impossible.
9. Prayer and
fasting demonstrate a person’s faith in the Lord. It is an act of humility
through which we entrust our requests to God (cf. Acts 14:23; Php 4:6).
sorrow would be a natural response, the disciples’ reaction also shows that
they still could not fully understand the necessity and significance of the
suffering and death that the Lord must go through. They also did not know that
the Lord would resurrect to bring salvation and life (Mk 9:10).
11. Just as the
sons of earthly Kings are exempt from civil tax, the Lord, who is the Son of
God, was exempt from the tax that God required from His people. The Lord’s
words implied that He is the King of kings, to whom
belong all things.
As for the
disciples’ exemption from the temple tax, what the Lord said had another level
of significance. The disciples were free from the obligations to the historical
temple, because they were with one who was greater than the temple (12:5-8).
But here the Lord is not teaching that we don’t need to give offerings to God,
for He Himself commanded giving to God what is God’s (22:21). His comments were
for the sake of emphasizing the fact that He was the Son and the Messiah.
12. Although the
Lord Jesus was free from the obligation of the temple tax as required by the
law, He still humbly submitted to the obligation since there was no need to
raise any conflict over such issue. Likewise, we ought to control our freedom so
as not to cause unnecessary offense in others, i.e. becoming a stumbling block
(cf. 1Cor 8:9). Where concession does not violate God’s commands, we should humble
ourselves for others’ sake.