Matthew 17: This chapter actually starts with the last verse in chapter 16 (Matt. 16:28). Yeshua tells them that some of them would see the kingdom of heaven coming in glory. Then six days later, Yeshua takes them up to the top of a mountain. Mark’s account of the transfiguration starts out that way (Mark 9:1-2).
(Mat 17:1 NASB) And six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves.
(Mat 17:2 NASB) And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
(Mat 17:3 NASB) And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Mat 17:3: This was a picture of the Kingdom when it comes. Transfiguration essentially means “transformed.” This was a picture of Yeshua in His resurrected state along with Elijah and Moses. In this vision, Moses and Elijah are both transformed also. Moses represents those who have died in faithfulness to Elohim. Elijah represents those who will not taste death before He returns. When Yeshua returns, those dead in Messiah will be raised and those still alive will be caught up in the air to be with Him. We do not know what we will be like, but we know we will be like Him (1 John 3:2).
(Mat 17:4 NASB) And Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
Mat 17:4: Peter did not know how to react to what he was seeing. But Peter did know that when Elohim comes, He will tabernacle with His people. Hence, he wanted to build the sukkas.
(Mat 17:5 NASB) While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”
Mat 17:5: The bright cloud is the presence of Yahweh (Ex. 40:34-35, 1 Kings 8:10-12). Notice that the cloud with the presence of Elohim was associated with the Tabernacle, or Temple. That is probably why Peter wanted to build three Tabernacles at that site. It was on those three tabernacles of the Spirit that Elohim descended upon.
Elohim declares Yeshua as His beloved Son in front of several witnesses. He established this fact in front of two or more witnesses at His baptism also (Matt. 3:16-17).
The words the Father says are very telling. He says “Listen to Him (v.5).” This points to the fact that Yeshua is “the Prophet” spoken of by Moses (Deut. 18:15-19).
(Mat 17:6 NASB) And when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were much afraid.
(Mat 17:7 NASB) And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”
(Mat 17:8 NASB) And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus Himself alone.
Mat 17:8: The disciples were afraid in a similar fashion that the people were afraid when Elohim appeared on Mount Sinai.
Mat 17:9 NASB) And as they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”
Mat 17:9: If the disciples spoke of what they saw, that would only hamper the redemptive purpose of His mission. The people would be even more adamant for Him to be King at that time.
Regardless, His time to be revealed was not yet here.
(Mat 17:10) And His disciples asked Him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
(Mat 17:11 NASB) And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things;
(Mat 17:12 NASB) but I say to you, that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.”
(Mat 17:13 NASB) Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.
Mat 17:13: Elijah already came as John the Baptist (Matt. 11:12-15). It is interesting that John Himself did not even know this (John 1:19-21).
However, Zachariah (John’s father) was told that John would be coming in the power and spirit of Elijah as prophesied in Malach1 4:4-6 (Luke 1:15-17). He was told that John would direct His people toward righteousness to make a ready a people prepared for Yahweh.
(Mat 17:14 NASB) And when they came to the multitude, a man came up to Him, falling on his knees before Him, and saying,
(Mat 17:15 NASB) “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic, and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water.
(Mat 17:16 NASB) “And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.”
(Mat 17:17 NASB) And Jesus answered and said, “O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.”
Mat 17:17: Yeshua says they are an unbelieving and perverted generation. His frustration is displayed in His Words “How long shall I put up with you?” These are essentially the same words used by the Father in expressing His disgust with Israel (Ex. 16:28, Num. 14:11, 27, Psalm 95:10).
(Mat 17:18 NASB) And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.
(Mat 17:19 NASB) Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
(Mat 17:20 NASB) And He said, to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
Mat 17:20: They could not perform miracles because of the littleness of their faith. Why is that?
It would appear that Elohim will not perform miracles when the people do not believe in Him because He gets disgusted with their lack of belief and lack of trust, which is tied to their obedience of Him (Psalm 78:21-42). Why is it against Torah to put Elohim to the test? Because it is an ultimate sign of unbelief to question His presence.
What is the best way to show faithfulness and belief in Elohim (Psalm 37:3-6, 119:42-45)? We know that Abraham was saved by his faithfulness (his obedience to the Father’s Torah) (Gen. 15:5-6, James 2:21-26). He believed in Elohim’s promise to give him countless descendants, but his belief was demonstrated with his obedience to Torah (Gen. 26:4-5).
(Mat 17:21 NASB) <“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”>
Mat 17:21: This passage is not in the oldest manuscripts and should not be used as a resource for foundational belief. It probably should not be included at all.
(Mat 17:22 NASB) And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men;
(Mat 17:23 NASB) and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.” And they were deeply grieved.
Mat 17:23: The suffering and death and resurrection of Messiah was prophesied in Psalm 22, Psalm 69, Isa. 52-53, Dan 9:26 and in other Scriptures. And Yeshua reaffirms this prophecy to His disciples. So why were they deeply grieved? It was because of their unbelief they displayed a few verses ago.
(Mat 17:24 NASB) And when they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter, and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?”
Mat 17:24: This is not a Roman tax, but the half-shekel paid by all the men of Israel annually. This tax was redemption money to pay for the upkeep of the Temple (Ex. 30:12-14). The amount paid was the equivalent of about two days wages.
However, Yeshua does not owe this tax. It is a price of redemption (Ex. 30:15).
(Mat 17:25 NASB) He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?”
(Mat 17:26 NASB) And upon his saying, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Consequently the sons are exempt.
(Mat 17:27 NASB) “But, lest we give them offense, go to the sea, and throw in 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 you and Me.”
Mat 17:27: Yeshua was exempt from having to pay this tax because He does not need to be redeemed and because He is the Son of the Father.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas