October 17th, 2006
There’s no easy way out when you turn up to a party in casual clothes, only to discover that everyone else is wearing formal dress. If you boldly stay and ignore the difficulty, people will think that you are rude and uncivilised. If you go home you miss out on the party and you still suffer the embarrassment of having made a serious social mistake. Peter, James and John must have felt a bit like that when they found themselves out of place on the top of a mountain at a meeting between Jesus (now dressed in dazzling white) and two of the great prophets from history. It must have been amazing and terrifying at the same time.
Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 17
17:1 Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James and his brother John up on a high mountain by themselves. 17:2 His appearance changed before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light. 17:3 Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him. 17:4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, I’m glad we’re here. If you like we can set up three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 17:5 While he was speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice out of the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, and I am very pleased with him. Listen to him.”
17:6 The disciples fell on the ground, terrified, when they heard this. 17:7 Jesus touched them and said, “Stand up, and don’t be afraid.” 17:8 Looking up, they saw no one other than Jesus. 17:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” 17:10 His disciples asked him, “Then why do the religious lawyers say that Elijah must come first?” 17:11 Jesus answered, “Elijah does indeed come first to restore all things, 17:12 but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they didn’t recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted to. The Son of Man will suffer a similar fate at their hands.” 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking about John the Baptist.
17:14 When they rejoined the crowd, a man came and knelt down. 17:15 “Lord, have mercy on my son. He suffers badly from epilepsy, sometimes falling into fire and sometimes into water. 17:16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17:17 Jesus answered, “Faithless and depraved generation! How long will I stay with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring him over here.” 17:18 Jesus rebuked the demon which went out of him and the boy was cured from that moment.
17:19 The disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why weren’t we able to cast it out?” 17:20 He said to them, “Because of your unbelief. I can guarantee that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
17:22 While walking in Galilee Jesus said, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of people, 17:23 and they will execute him, and on the third day he will be raised up.” They were filled with grief.
17:24 When they arrived at Capernaum, the temple-tax collectors came to Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” 17:25 He said, “Yes.” When he came into the house, Jesus reading his thoughts asked, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive taxes and duties? From their children, or from strangers?” 17:26 Peter said, “From strangers.” Jesus said, “So the children are exempt. 17:27 But we don’t want to upset them, so go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you open its mouth you will find a coin sufficient to pay the temple tax for two people. Take that and give it to them for you and me.”
Entry Filed under: Perseverance