Matthew 17

Three disciples see how great Jesus is

1 Six days after that, Jesus asked Peter and the two brothers, James and John, to go with him. Jesus led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 Peter, James and John saw Jesus change in front of them. He became different to look at. His face was bright like the sun. His clothes became very white and they shone. 3 Then Moses and Elijah appeared in front of the three disciples. They were talking with Jesus.

17:3Moses had lived a long time ago. He was a leader of God's people. He brought them out of Egypt. He died about 1400 years before Jesus was born. We can read about Moses in Exodus.
17:3Elijah was a prophet of God. He lived about 850 years before Jesus was born. He did not die. God took him up alive to heaven. We can read about him in 1 Kings.

4 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good that we are here. If you want, please let me build three huts. One hut will be for you. One hut will be for Moses and one hut will be for Elijah.’

17:4Peter and his friends wanted to build the huts so that these three important people could stay with them longer. But God had not asked the disciples to build any huts. Many years before, Moses had given the people God's Law. Elijah was an important prophet of God. And Jesus was God's Son. Jesus was showing people something new. This was the kingdom of God.

5 While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud appeared. It covered them all. A voice spoke from the cloud and it said, ‘This is my Son and I love him. He makes me very happy. Listen to him.’

6 The disciples heard the voice. They threw themselves down to the ground. They were very frightened. 7 But Jesus came to them and he touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said. ‘Do not be afraid.’ 8 When they looked up, they could not see anyone else. Only Jesus was there with them.

9 While they were walking down the mountain, Jesus said to the three disciples, ‘You must not tell anyone now about the things that you have just seen. One day, the Son of Man will die and then he will become alive again. Then you can tell people about these things.’

10 Then the three disciples said to Jesus, ‘The teachers of God's Law say that God's prophet Elijah must return first, before the Messiah comes. Why do they say this?’

11 Jesus replied, ‘Yes, Elijah does come first. He gets everything ready. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come. People did not recognize him. They did to him all the things that they wanted to do. In the same way, they will also give me, the Son of Man, great pain.’ 13 Then the disciples understood that he was really talking about John the Baptist.

Jesus makes a boy well

14 Then Jesus, and the three disciples reached the place where the crowd was. A man came to Jesus. He went down on his knees in front of him. 15 He said to Jesus, ‘Please sir, be kind to my son. He cannot control his body. Sometimes he does not know what he is doing. Often he falls into the fire, or he falls into water. 16 I brought the boy to your disciples, but they could not make him well.’

17 Jesus replied, ‘You people today still do not believe in God. You have turned away from him. I have been with you for a long time and still you do not believe. It is difficult for me to be patient with you.’ Then Jesus said to the man, ‘Bring the boy here to me.’ 18 Jesus said to the bad spirit, ‘Stop!’ Then the bad spirit left the boy and immediately he became well again.

19 When the disciples were alone with Jesus, they asked him, ‘Why could we not make the bad spirit leave the boy?’

20 Jesus replied, ‘You could not do it because you do not trust God very much. I tell you this: You may believe in God only a little bit, like a very small seed. Even then, you could say to this mountain, “Go away from this place and move to that other place.” Then it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you to do.’ [ 21 Jesus then said, ‘This kind of spirit will not leave a person unless you pray and you do not eat for a time.’]

17:20The 12 disciples had forgotten that God had caused them to be powerful. They needed to ask God to help them before they could help someone else.
17:21Some people think that Matthew did not write verse 21. They think that someone else wrote it later.

22 When Jesus and his disciples all met together in Galilee, he said, ‘Soon they will deliver the Son of Man to powerful people. 23 They will kill him. But three days after that, he will become alive again.’ When the disciples heard that, they were very sad.

24 After that, Jesus and his disciples arrived at Capernaum. Some men who received taxes for the temple went to talk to Peter. They asked him, ‘Does your teacher pay the tax for the temple?’

17:24These men took a small silver coin as tax from everybody in the town. The priests used the money from this tax to keep the temple in good repair. The small silver coin was about two days' pay for a worker.

25 Peter answered them, ‘Yes, my teacher does pay the tax.’

Then Peter returned to the house where Jesus was staying. Before Peter could say anything, Jesus spoke to him first. He said, ‘Here is a question for you to answer, Simon. Who are the people who must pay taxes and money to the kings in this world? Do the rulers take taxes from their own people? Or do they take taxes from other people?’

26 ‘They take the taxes from other people,’ Peter replied.

Jesus said to him, ‘This means that people from the ruler's own country do not need to pay anything. 27 But we do not want to make these men who take the tax angry. So go to the lake and throw out a line to catch fish. Pull up the first fish that you catch on your line. Open the mouth of the fish and you will find a coin inside it. Take the coin and give it to those who receive taxes for the temple. This will be enough money for both my tax and yours.’

17:26Jesus is telling Peter that he and the other disciples belong to God's family. So they did not need to pay tax for the temple.