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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 17

Introduction

  1. Introduction:
    1. (Read) Matthew 17:1-9
    2. Context: Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Verses 1-9

  1. What Do We See?
    1. Who is here?
      1. Jesus, Peter, James and John (James, the brother of John & son of Zebedee, NOT the ½ brother of Jesus)
      2. This James was the first Martyr (Acts 12)
    2. What is happening?
      1. Jesus is getting away with 3 of the Apostles
      2. He shows His true character and also reveals the Law and the Prophets – of which He is the fulfillment!
    3. When is it happening?
      1. Six days after revealing that Jesus will die and rise from the dead (Mat 16:21)
    4. Where is it happening?
      1. ​​​​​​​A Mountain…the Bible doesn’t tell us where and there is much speculation as to “where”…but it doesn’t really matter to us.
      2. The point is that Jesus wanted to get away with the three – He wanted privacy!
    5. Why? (next section)
    6. How? > He’s God!
  2. We Can Have What They Had!
    1. ​​​​​​​Preparation, perhaps?
      1. ​​​​​​​Spurgeon: Speaking of the three with Jesus:
        “Yet these three were very special persons. Some say that Peter was one of them because he loved his Master much; that John was another because his Master loved him much; and that James was the third because he was so soon to die, the first of the apostles who should become a martyr for the faith of Jesus Christ.”
    2. The Promise
      1. John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
      2. “Manifest” (Definition)
        1. to manifest, exhibit to view
        2. to show one's self, come to view, appear, be manifest
        3. to indicate, disclose, declare, make known
    3. We Must Remember…
      1. ​​​​​​​God Loves Us
        1. ​​​​​​​Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
      2. God Wants Us to Know HIM
        1. ​​​​​​​Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
      3. God Wants us to Seek HIM
        1. ​​​​​​​Jeremiah 33:2-3 Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; 3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
        2. Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
    4. Examples to Follow
      1. ​​​​​​​Enoch:
        1. ​​​​​​​Genesis 5:23-24 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
        2. Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
      2. Moses:
        1. ​​​​​​​Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
        2. Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
      3. Daniel:
        1. ​​​​​​​Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
        2. Daniel 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
  3. How Can We Know Him?
    1. ​​​​​​​New Testament Example
      1. ​​​​​​​Acts 3:1-8 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
      2. Acts 4:13-14 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
    2. Just Give Me Jesus!
      1. ​​​​​​​How? Cry Out to Jesus!
        1. ​​​​​​​Genesis 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
      2. Why? He Wants You to…
        1. ​​​​​​​Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
        2. Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
      3. Our Goal?
        1. See, hear and experience God personally for ourselves!
        2. Why?
          1. ​​​​​​​Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
          2. Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
  4. Conclusion
    1. ​​​​​​​Crying Out to God (Daniel’s Prayer – Dan 9:4-20)

Verses 10-13

  1. Introduction
    1. (Read) Psalm 95
    2. Context: Coming down off the mountain after the transfiguration where the disciples see Jesus in His glory with Moses and Elijah…
  2. Elijah First!
    Matthew 17:10-13 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
    1. Jesus Confirms Malachi…
      Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
    2. John the Baptist
      1. John was a “type” of Elijah…
      2. Matthew 11:11-15 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Verses 14-21

  1. Mustard Seed Faith
    1. Have Mercy on My Son
      Matthew 17:14-16 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. 16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
      1. John was a “type” of Elijah…
      2. The father had NOT given up…he kept seeking help for his son!
      3. Our application…we need to not give up on our children and our loved ones but continually bring them to the Lord in Prayer!
    2. Trust God
      Matthew 17:17-20 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
      1. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
      2. Psalms 95:6-11 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. 7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
      3. 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
      4. Hebrews 4:1-11 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
    3. Prayer and Fasting
      1. Matthew 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
        1. Prayer attaches us to God
        2. Fasting detaches us from the world (by the denial of our flesh)
      2. Prayer
        1. James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
        2. Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
        3. Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
        4. John 15:14-15 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
        5. Psalms 66:16-20 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. 17 I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. 18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: 19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
      3. Fasting
        1. James 1:27c …and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
        2. 1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
        3. ​​​​​​​Isaiah 58:1-11 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. 3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. 4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. 9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: 11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Verses 22-23

  1. They Were Sorry?
    1. Matthew 17:22-23 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
      1. Betrayal – it surprised and scared them, perhaps and they were sorry (and probably sorrowful, too).

Verses 24-27

  1. Temple Tax
    Matthew 17:24-27 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. 27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
    1. Lest We Offend Them…
      1. Romans 14:1-3, 7-8 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
      2. 1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
      3. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
      4. Romans 15:1-2 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
    2. Children of the King
      1. Jesus is saying He’s the King, and we’re the children…we ARE the temple of the Holy Spirit.
      2. Think about kids though…they know they are “OUR” kids. They never doubt that they will be our kids. They never think they have to earn the right to be our kids. They never think that we’ll disown them or stop loving them. They never think they’ll never be good enough to be our kids.
        1. They do ask for whatever they want and we give them what they need plus some…how much more will our heavenly Father give us?
        2. “can I have a cookie”, “can I go out and play”, “can I have that toy”??? …and how often do we say “YES”?
    3. Jesus makes it personal
      1. ​​​​​​​The Fish has just enough money for Jesus and Peter, not for the 3 or the 12 or the 70.
      2. Jesus loves to “do” for us personally, He loves to talk with us individually, He loves to be with us relationally.
      3. Jesus loves us!
Copyright Statement
Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Matthew 17". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnc/matthew-17.html. 2017.