Matthew 17 Questions and Answers
1. Read Matthew 17:1-8. What happened 6 days after Jesus said that some of them would see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom or royal splendor? Read also Luke 9:28-36
- Jesus took 3 of his disciples, Peter, James and John up a high mountain (Mount Tabor)to pray. There He was transfigured before them. Jesus' deity was revealed as His face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light or flash of lightning. (Revelation 21:23)
- Moses & Elijah came (in glorious splendor) and talked with Jesus. Do you think this is what Moses would have looked like when he returned from being with God up in the mountain?
- Why do you think Moses & Elijah were chosen from all the godly men in the Old Testament to talk with Jesus? Perhaps because Moses was the great law giver, and Elijah was the great defender of the law. Perhaps because Moses died but Elijah was taken up to heaven they represent all people who would either die or get taken up to heaven when Jesus returns the second time.
2. What did Jesus and Moses and Elijah talk about? (Luke 9:31)
- They spoke about Jesus' departure which he would fulfill at Jerusalem.
- Moses and Elijah not only gave confirmation of Jesus' divine glory but also of His divine plan of salvation.
3. What was Peter's response to what he just witnessed?
- In the excitement of witnessing this glory, Peter offered to make 3 shelters for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Luke says he didn't know what he was talking about.
4. What happened while Peter was speaking?
- A bright cloud covered them and God spoke in an audible voice from the cloud saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!
- When else had the disciples heard those words? At Jesus' baptism.
- Perhaps God said it again to help them believe what Jesus was saying about having to die and be raised up on the third day and that He would return again some day.
5. How did the 3 disciples respond?
- They fell facedown to the ground terrified.
- Sinful men in the presence of a holy God are always afraid. Eg. Adam & Eve, Isaiah, Daniel when God spoke to him directly (Dan 8)
6. What was the difference between the disciple's responses to seeing Jesus' glory and hearing God's voice?
- Seeing Jesus' glory created awe and wanting to do something
- Hearing God's voice created fear & perhaps worship
7. What did the disciples experience after that?
- Jesus touched them and told them to get up. They didn't need to be afraid.
- When the disciples looked up there was no one except Jesus.
8. Why do you think Jesus took 3 of his disciples with him up on the mountain to see His transfiguration?
- They were His intimate friends - part of the inner circle.
- They would be reliable witnesses of Jesus' glory and would therefore be believed by the other disciples and the church later on.
- They were the spokesmen for the rest of the disciples and would probably have the greatest ability to articulate what they had seen and heard. Were considered the leaders of the 12.
9. Can you even begin to imagine how you would respond if you saw Jesus' glory or heard God's voice audibly?
- I think I would sense my unworthiness and sinfulness and be afraid or even terrified, just like the 3 disciples were and Isaiah and Daniel.
10. Read Matthew 17:9-13. What command did Jesus give Peter, James and John as they were coming down the mountain? Why do you think Jesus gave that command?
- Don't tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.
- Only the resurrection would reveal the true nature of Christ. Until then telling the public would have been dangerous. They would have incited the people to make Jesus into a King of their own kind to fulfill their selfish and worldly expectations. Even Peter had just said he wanted to make a memorial but Jesus didn't want that. We want to go back to a place to remember and God wants us to go forward. He does not want us to live in the past or idolize the past.
- After Jesus arose, people would realize that Jesus came to conquer death, not the Romans.
11. What question did the 3 disciples have for Jesus?
- Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come before the Messiah does?
12. What did the 3 disciples learn from Jesus' answer?
- Elijah is indeed coming before the Messiah to get everything ready. (Malachi 4:5-6)
- In fact, Elijah had already come but the people did not recognize him but did to him what they wanted to do - they abused him & made him suffer.
- In the same way, they will also make Jesus suffer.
- The 3 disciples then realized that Jesus was saying that the Elijah who was prophesied to come was John the Baptist. John the Baptist was not a reincarnation of Elijah but the angel told Zachariah that the spirit and power of Elijah would come upon his son, John. (Luke 1:17)
13. Read Matthew 17:14-18. Who approached Jesus when He came down from the mountain? What did he want? (Read also Mark 9:17-18)
- A man came and knelt down before Jesus and asked Him to have mercy on his son who has seizures and is greatly suffering. Mark said that he was possessed by a spirit that had robbed him of his speech and he couldn't hear. Sometimes the spirit would seize him and throw him to the ground and he would foam at the mouth, gnash his teeth and become rigid. Sometimes he fell into the water and sometimes into the fire with the spirits intent to kill him. Jesus' disciples couldn't heal him so he came directly to Jesus for healing.
- What a drastic change from the glorious transfiguration of Jesus on the mountaintop to the reality of our sinful world down in the valley.
14. How did Jesus respond to the request?
- Jesus was grieved at the disciples' lack of faith and seemed a little exasperated with the unbelief and spiritual perverseness of the people. He wondered out loud how long He had to stay with them and put up with them.
- He told the father to bring the boy. When the spirit saw Jesus it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion causing him to roll around on the ground and foam at the mouth. It was like Satan was making one last attempt to kill the boy. Jesus rebuked the demon/spirit of deafness and muteness and it came out of the boy and he was immediately healed. Although in Mark it says that it looked like he was dead but Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet and he stood up.
15. According to Mark 9:21-24 what was Jesus wanting to hear from the father?
- That he did believe that Jesus could help his son and he asked Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief.
16. Read Matthew 17:19-23. Why couldn't the disciples drive out the demon? (Read also Mark 9:28-29 )
- In Mark it says that they asked Jesus privately in a house - maybe they were embarrassed and perplexed as to why they couldn't drive out the demon.
- Because they had so little faith
- That kind can only come out by prayer (some also add fasting)
- They failed to appropriate the power that was available to them. They had been successful before according to Matthew 10:6-8; Mark 6:13)
17. What kind of faith did Jesus say was necessary to be able to do great things?
- Small faith that would grow into large faith, like a mustard seed into a tree (Matthew 13:32), then even the mountain will move if you tell it to. Nothing is impossible with that kind of faith. We never saw Jesus or his disciples do that but the phrase "able to move mountains" came to mean the ability to surmount great obstacles.
- Mustard seed faith is persistent faith. It continues to grow and become productive because it never gives up.
18. Do you think unbelievers even now despair of help from believers because of our weakness, unfaithfulness and indifference and so they go to the Lord directly?
19. What did Jesus tell the disciples again in Matthew 17:22-23? How did they respond?
- That He was going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They would kill him and on the third day be raised to life.
- They were filled with grief.
20. Read Matthew 17:24-27. Did Jesus pay taxes? Why or why not?
- Jesus paid the temple tax even though technically He should have been exempt - after all, the Temple was His Father's house, He declared Himself to be greater than the Temple, and He was Lord of the temple.
- He paid them in order to not offend the tax collectors and He paid them in full and willingly
- Technically taxes should be for non-family members but Jesus was willing to pay in order to not offend.
- Jesus paid for Peter and himself through a fish so I take it he didn't have money on hand but chose to use a miracle to pay for the tax He was willing to pay for.
21. Do we need to pay taxes? What should be our attitude?
- We know that at the Temple the Jewish leaders were hypocritical and corrupt so probably large amounts of Temple taxes would have been misappropriated, but Jesus still paid the tax.
- The taxes Jesus paid to Rome would have been used for many immoral and ungodly purposes, so we can learn that while we are here on earth, we are to fulfill our obligation as a citizen of our country. "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar." (Matthew 22:21)
- Jesus paid His taxes in full and willingly so we should too.