Matthew 17#Mt 17:1| LXX. THIRD WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY. D. THE TRANSFIGURATION. CONCERNING ELIJAH. (A Spur of Hermon, near Caesarea Philippi.) #Mt 17:1-13 Mr 9:2-13 Lu 9:28-36| After six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, etc. See TFG "#Mr 9:2|". #Mt 17:2| He was transfigured before them. See TFG "#Mr 9:2|". His garments became white as the light. See TFG "#Mr 9:3|". #Mt 17:3| There appeared unto them Moses and Elijah. See TFG "#Mr 9:4|". #Mt 17:4| I will make here three tabernacles, etc. See TFG "#Mr 9:5|". #Mt 17:5| A bright cloud overshadowed them, etc. See TFG "#Mr 9:7|". #Mt 17:6| They fell on their face, and were sore afraid. As every man is who hears the voice of God. (TFG 420) #Mt 17:7| Arise, and be not afraid. As mediator between man and God, Jesus removes fear. Also see TFG "Lu 1:30". (TFG 420) #Mt 17:8| They saw no one, save Jesus only. See TFG "#Mr 9:8|". #Mt 17:9| Jesus commanded them, etc. See TFG "#Mr 9:9|". #Mt 17:10| Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? See TFG "#Mr 9:11|". #Mt 17:11| Elijah indeed cometh, and shall restore all things, etc. See TFG "#Mr 9:12|". #Mt 17:12| That Elijah is come already, etc. See TFG "#Mr 9:13|". #Mt 17:14| LXX. THIRD WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY. E. HEALING THE DEMONIAC BOY. (Region of Caesarea Philippi.) #Mt 17:14-20 Mr 9:14-29 Lu 9:37-43| When they were come to the multitude. That is, when Jesus and the multitude met. See TFG "#Mr 9:14|". (TFG 423) #Mt 17:20| Because of your little faith. The failure of the disciples was not because of any insufficiency of power in Jesus, but was due to their own failure to appropriate that power by faith. The relation of belief and unbelief to miraculous power is fully illustrated in Peter's attempt to walk upon the waters. See TFG "#Mt 14:30|". For comparison, see TFG "Mr 9:29". If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed. The mustard seed was the proverbial type for the infinitely little (see TFG "Mr 4:32"). Faith has such power with God that even little faith becomes well-nigh omnipotent in an age of miracles. This mountain. Mount Hermon. (TFG 426) #Mt 17:22| LXXI. RETURN TO GALILEE. THE PASSION FORETOLD. #Mt 17:22,23 Mr 9:30-32 Lu 9:43-45| The Son of man shall be delivered up into the hands of men. See TFG "#Mr 9:31|". We have here two notes of time during which Jesus spoke of his passion. It was all the while he was in Galilee, between his return from Caesarea and his departure into Judaea, for which see TFG "Joh 7:2". The length of time suggests that the sad lesson was oft repeated, but was at a time when the marvels of his works strengthened the faith of the disciples so as to enable them to bear the instruction. (TFG 427) #Mt 17:23| The third day he shall be raised up. For comment on similar language see TFG "Mt 12:40". And they were exceeding sorry. Peter's experience taught them not to attempt to correct Jesus while thus speaking, so there was nothing left for them but to grieve at his words. (TFG 427) #Mt 17:24| LXXII. JESUS PAYS THE TRIBUTE MONEY. (Capernaum, Autumn, A.D. 29) #Mt 17:24-27| Doth not your teacher pay the half-shekel? The law of Moses required from every male of twenty years and upward the payment of a tax of half a shekel for the support of the temple (#Ex 30:12-16 2Ch 24:5,6|). This tax was collected annually. We are told that a dispute existed between the Pharisees and Sadducees as to whether the payment of this tribute was voluntary or compulsory. The collectors of it may have thought that Jesus regarded its payment as voluntary, or they may have thought that Jesus considered himself exempt from it because he was so great a rabbi. Though this temple tax was usually collected in March, Lightfoot informs us that the payment of it was so irregular that its receivers kept two chests; in one of which was placed the tax for the current year, and in the other that for the year past. The demand was made upon Jesus at Capernaum because that was his residence, and it was not made sooner because of the wandering life which he led. It appears that since the first of April he had been in Capernaum only once for a brief period, probably no longer than a Sabbath day (#Joh 6:22-24|). The Jewish shekel answered to the Greek stater, which has been variously estimated as worth from fifty to seventy-five cents. The stater contained four drachmae, and a drachma was about equivalent to a Roman denarius, or seventeen cents. (TFG 428) #Mt 17:25| He saith, Yea. Peter answered with his usual impulsive presumption. Probably he had known the tribute to be paid before out of the general fund held by Judas; or he may have assumed that Jesus would fulfill this as one of God's requirements. Jesus spake first to him. Without waiting for him to tell what he had said. (TFG 428-429) #Mt 17:26| Therefore the sons are free. The argument is this: If the sons of kings are free from the payment of tribute, I, the Son of God, am free from God's tribute. The half-shekel was regarded as given to God (Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 18.9.1) (TFG 429) #Mt 17:27| Lest we cause them to stumble. Lest we be totally misunderstood, and be thought to teach that men should not pay this tribute to God. Go thou to the sea. Of Galilee. And cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up, etc. Jesus paid the tribute in such a manner as to show that the whole realm of nature was tributary to him, and that he was indeed the Son of the great King. Some have thought that our Lord's beneficence, in paying Peter's tax also, was an evidence that Peter, too, was exempt from tribute. But the conclusion is not well drawn. Had this been intended, Jesus would have said "for us," and would not have used the words "for me and thee," which distinguished between the exempted Son and the unexempted subject. Though afterward Peter might possibly have claimed exemption as a child of God by adoption (#Joh 1:12|), he was not yet free from this duty to pay this tax. (TFG 429)
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