Listen To Him
“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist. And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”” (Matthew 17:1–27, ESV)
Jesus takes three of his disciples with him for an experience they would never forget. They travel up a high mountain by themselves. Did Jesus tell them anything about where they were going or what they would see? Scripture does not tell us. What the disciples beheld left them stunned, fearful, and struggling to find words. Jesus was transformed before their very eyes and they and his face shone like the sun. The appearance of his clothes was altered while Moses and Elijah appeared to talk with him. Peter is so overcome by the sight that he suggests that they put up shelters and stay. Suddenly a cloud overshadowed them. Moses was certainly familiar with the cloud of God. He had followed it as he wandered through the wilderness for years. Elijah had seen a similar sight as he was carried off in a chariot of fire. A voice came from the cloud. It was the voice of the Father declaring his love for the Son and revealing his pleasure. The Father instructs the disciples to listen to him. The disciples are frightened and fall to their faces on the ground. Would they be consumed by God's wrath or would they melt in the presence of glory? Neither. Jesus lifted up their faces and told them not to be afraid. As they came down the mountain, Jesus instructed them to keep these events to themselves until the Son of Man had risen. The disciples are curious about Elijah. God had promised that Elijah would come, and Jesus explains to them that Elijah had come, and he was speaking of John the Baptist.
Because Of Your Little Faith
Jesus comes down the mountain and is greeted by a crowd. A man kneels before Jesus and asks him to heal his son. He describes the terrible suffering that the boy deals with and pleads for mercy and help. Evidently, the disciples had tried to help this boy, but to no avail. Jesus criticizes their lack of faith and tells them to bring the boy. Jesus rebuked the demon which had to obey the king, his maker. The boy is healed immediately. The disciples are confused because they had driven out demons before and they inquired the reason for the failure. Jesus connects it to their lack of faith. Jesus tells his disciples again that he would be killed and raised on the third day which caused them great distress.
Jesus returns to Capernaum and is asked about taxes by the collectors. Peter told them that Jesus did pay the tax and it seemed to pacify them. Jesus asks Peter about taxes and whether Kings took the taxes from their sons or others? Peter understands that kings take taxes from others, and so Jesus states that the sons are free. To avoid any offense, Jesus instructs Peter to go fishing and take the first fish that comes up. He tells Peter that all he needs to do is open the mouth of the fish, and he will find a shekel for the tax. Peter must have been eager to cast that line. Could this be true? It was. Jesus has dominion over all things including his creatures. We should listen to him.