Matthew 17

This devotional is written by Jenny Slater.

Matthew 17

The transfiguration
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

4 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’

6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. ‘Get up,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid.’ 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, ‘Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’

10 The disciples asked him, ‘Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?’

11 Jesus replied, ‘To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognise him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.’ 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy
14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 ‘Lord, have mercy on my son,’ he said. ‘He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.’

17 ‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.’ 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’

20 He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’

Jesus predicts his death a second time
22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.’ And the disciples were filled with grief.

The temple tax
24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, ‘Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?’

25 ‘Yes, he does,’ he replied.

When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. ‘What do you think, Simon?’ he asked. ‘From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes – from their own children or from others?’

26 ‘From others,’ Peter answered.

‘Then the children are exempt,’ Jesus said to him. 27 ‘But so that we may not cause offence, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.’


There is so much happening in this chapter! I could have chosen so much, one honourable mention being 'how long shall I put up with you!' as an exclamation from Jesus.

Anyway, the part that jumped out to me was verse 5 'While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"'

Firstly, I love that it gives the impression that it cuts Peter off mid-sentence whilst he's babbling about making shelters... and secondly... God actually speaks. Which may seem an odd thing to point out as duh, but looking into it, God doesn't actually audibly speak much in the New Testament. On two of these occasions, he's saying almost the exact same thing. In Matthew 3 we already heard "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" at Jesus' baptism. The same sentence. Though chapter 17 adds 'listen to him!'. The phrase is affirming Jesus' identity yet again, first at baptism, now at the transfiguration. Jesus is being glorified as he nears the end of his ministry, where he has already revealed himself as the Son of God and knows that he is soon to be riding into Jerusalem as a king, only to die at the hands of those he came to save. He is confirming to his disciples (biblical and us!) who he is, and what he has come to do - to be the fulfilment of the prophets and the commandments of the law (why Elijah and Moses are there) so that all may be saved from sin, and live under the new covenant in a personal relationship with Jesus, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through baptism.

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