St Matthew 17 Reflections

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 17: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/17?lang=eng

17 transfiguration

Peter, James, and John were with Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration

Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him, apart from the other disciples, into a high mountain.

‘And [He] was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus,

“Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

‘While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said,

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

‘And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said,

“Arise, and be not afraid.”

‘ And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only’ (Matt 17:2-8).

Further thoughts: It appears at the time of the vision, Peter, James, and John were astonished and thrilled to be there with Jesus and to behold such great things; but, they did not yet understand the significance thereof.

Isn’t it often the same with us when we receive spiritual light? Only after further thought, prayer, pondering, living up to our spiritual gifts, and gaining more experience do we acquire more spiritual understanding, which allows us to begin to unlock the treasure.

When they heard the voice of God the Father proclaim that Jesus is His Son, they “fell on their face” (vs. 6) in fear. Truly they did not expect such a spectacular vision and testimony from God Himself.

It is interesting to note that whenever God the Father’s voice has been heard, the message has been the same. He has testified of Jesus Christ as His Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. He also did this when Jesus Christ was baptized; and later, when Jesus visited the Americas after His resurrection; and again, when They appeared to the boy prophet Joseph Smith.

While heading back down the mountain, Jesus gave them this charge,

“Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead” (vs. 9).

They then asked what it meant that Elias must first come. Jesus answered,

“Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 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” (vs. 11-12).

‘Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist’ (vs. 13).

Further thought: There is more to the meaning of the term Elias than is to be found in this one reference to John the Baptist. An Elias is someone who restores truth and prepares the way of the Lord. So John the Baptist is referred to as Elias.

Jesus Heals the Son Who is Possessed

When they were back with the multitude, a man came to Jesus and kneeled down before him and said,

‘“Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.”

‘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.”

‘And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

‘Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said,

“Why could not we cast him out?”

‘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.

“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”’(vs. 15-21).

Further thoughts: To whom was Jesus’s rebuke directed? Both the man’s father, who sought the healing, and His disciples were lacking in faith; so, the miracle did not happen.

Elder Scott has stated that three things must be present for a healing miracle to occur: the faith of the one, or those, seeking the blessing; the faith of those giving the blessing; and the will of God.

Jesus further teaches the disciples that sometimes, or perhaps often, fasting is necessary. Why? Because fasting can draw us closer to God and to His designs, purposes, and will. Fasting can aid the Spirit in cleansing us, and it can cause our faith to increase, so that we can become instruments in our Heavenly Father’s hands to do His will.

While they were still in Galilee, Jesus said to His disciples,

“The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day He shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry” (vs. 22-23).

In Capernaum, those collecting tribute money asked Peter,

“Doth not your master pay tribute” (vs. 24)?

Peter questioned Jesus concerning the matter. And Jesus explained that our allegiance really is to God.

‘“What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?”

‘Peter saith unto him,

“Of strangers.”

‘Jesus saith unto him,

“Then are the children free”’ (vs. 25-26).

These verses seem to agree with what the Savior spoke about rendering unto Caesar the things that be Caesars and unto God the things that be Gods, because Jesus continued the conversation with the following,

“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” (vs. 27).

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