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Bible Commentaries

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament
Matthew 17



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Verse 2

Transfigured; changed in his appearance.

His raiment was white as light; resplendent as lightning. The three apostles were here favored with a glimpse of the future glory of the Saviour and his true followers, well calculated to strengthen their faith in passing through the trying scenes that were before them, and through them to strengthen the faith of all his disciples amid "the sufferings of this present time." Romans 8:18; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2. The glory of the Saviour when on earth was veiled in him humanity; but on the Mount of Transfiguration it shone forth above the brightness of the sun; and as a full view of it, if continued, would unfit his people for their duties on earth, they must wait for this till they see him in heaven.

Verse 3

Moses and Elias; the representatives of "the law and the prophets" here appear in glory, but subordinate to the Saviour. Thus the unity of the old and new dispensation is set forth, and also the supreme dignity of "Christ the Son of the living God."

Verse 4

Tabernacles; a tabernacle was a temporary dwelling, covered usually with cloth or boughs of trees. Peter was so amazed and bewildered by the glory of the vision, that he knew not what he said. Mark 9:6; Luke 9:33. His plans were repeatedly in opposition to those of his Lord.

Verse 5

A voice; the voice of God the Father, as in chap. Matthew 3:17, with the addition, "Hear ye him," attend to his instructions, and follow them. The delight of all parents in all children, from the foundation of the world to the end of time, if put together, would be infinitely less than the delight of the almighty Father in his beloved Son; and the way for men to glorify God is, to hearken to and honor the Son as they ought to honor the Father. John 5:23.

Verse 9

The vision; what they had seen and heard.

Verse 10

First come; come before the Messiah, since now he had appeared after him. They understood the prophecy, Malachi 3:1-4, literally, of the Elias who had been translated to heaven; but our Saviour teaches them that it was fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist, who came "in the spirit and power of Elias." Luke 1:17. It is not enough for us to know the words of Scripture; we must understand their meaning, and make a right application of it. In order to this, we should seek assistance from those whose opportunities for understanding the meaning of Scripture and its right application have exceeded ours. We should also compare one portion of Scripture with another, and especially we should apply to Jesus Christ for the teaching of his Spirit.

Verse 11

Restore all things; set them in order, and bring them to a proper state for the coming of God as a Saviour.

Verse 12

Listed; desired or pleased to do.

Verse 15

Falleth into the fire; in the paroxysms of his disease, under the power of the evil spirit by which he was possessed. Ver Matthew 17:18, and Mark 9:17; Mark 9:25-26. The family relation, while it gives us many of our choicest comforts, occasions also many of our deepest sorrows.

Verse 17

Suffer you; endure your perverseness and unbelief.

Verse 18

Rebuked the devil; bade him depart. Mark 9:25.

Verse 20

If ye have faith; the reference here is to that faith with which Christ, in the case of the apostles, connected the working of miracles.

Nothing shall be impossible; no exercise of miraculous power, however great, that may be needful in the prosecution of your apostolic work. The spirit of this promise applies to all Christ’s servants in all ages. No hinderance to their work can be so great that faith cannot overcome it. Had men higher views of Christ, greater confidence in him, and more entire devotion to his service, they might receive much more good themselves, and be instrumental of much greater good to others.

Verse 21

This kind; this kind of evil spirit. The words imply its great power and malice.

Prayer and fasting; that faith which was necessary to work such a miracle, could not be obtained without much self-denial and prayer.

Verse 23

Exceeding sorry; because he was to be treated in that way, not knowing that his death was necessary for the salvation of men. That which here on earth occasions the people of God the greatest distresses, when they come to see the reasons for it and the benefits of it, they will see to have been overruled for the promotion of their highest and most enduring joys.

Verse 24

Tribute-money; paid yearly for the support of public worship and the service of the temple, amounting to half a shekel, or about twenty-five cents.

Verse 25

Prevented him; spoke before Peter had said any thing. When the Bible was translated into English, to prevent meant to go before. persons Strangers; persons not belonging to the family, not the children of the king who received the tribute.

Verse 26

Free; not expected to pay tribute. According to that rule, Christ, the Son of God, for the support of whose worship the money was paid would be free.

Verse 27

A piece of money; in the original, a stater, of the value of a shekel, or about fifty cents, which would pay the tribute for both Christ and Peter. Duty sometimes calls us not to insist upon all our just rights, but to take a different course for the purpose of preventing a wrong construction being put upon our actions, and of doing greater good.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 17:4". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 10th, 2020
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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