THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 17

1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

After Peter had given the statement, " Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matt 16:16), Jesus took Peter, James and John to a "high mountain." It was after they genuinely comprehended Him as Messiah that Jesus revealed Himself in holy form before them.

He was "transfigured." The Greek word is metamorphoo, from which we get our word "metamorphosis," and means to change from the inside out. More beautiful than any butterfly, Jesus emitted holy beauty from the cocoon of flesh. This is the manner in which we shall see Him when He returns. And this is the manner in which we shall BE when He returns! With Christ, that holy beauty has always been. With the believer, it is a gradual change and will be complete when we "see" Him. (See 2Corinthians 3:18 and 2Corinthians 5:17).

Moses and Elijah appeared, and were talking with Jesus. How did the disciples know Moses and Elijah? When we see Jesus as He is, we recognize all of His people!

There is a special representation here. Moses represents saints who have died and will be resurrected at Jesus' 2nd Advent. Elijah represents those who will be living at Jesus' 2nd Advent and translated at His appearing. And the disciples represent the church who is living on earth to do God's will at the present time.

4 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. 5 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.

Peter was overjoyed! He had experienced a "peek" at heaven! He wanted to build three small "tabernacles" (a sort of brush harbor?), and just stay there and worship.

But God's voice came through the clouds and stated the purpose for the disciples. They were to HEAR Jesus! That meant they were to be attentive to Jesus' statements and follow His direction.

6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

The disciples had already realized they were in the presence of great holiness. But now God's voice brought tremendous fear upon them. It was not only the sound of God's voice, but the statement God made that brought this fear.

If there had been even a shadow of a doubt in their minds about Jesus, it was completely erased! They KNEW He was God in flesh appearing to men! They KNEW He was the chosen Messiah holding the power of the world in His hands!

Jesus came and touched them telling them to "Arise, and be not afraid." And when they looked, they saw ONLY Jesus. Moses and Elijah had departed. Jesus is the One on Whom they are to focus all their attention. (See Hebrews 1:1-4)

9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. 10 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.

As they were descending from the mountain, there was a question the disciples wanted answered. They had understood from the Old Testament that Elijah was to return to announce and usher in the Messiah. (See Malachi 4:5)

Jesus noted this was absolutely true. However, Elijah had ALREADY returned! Then the disciples understood that John the Baptist had been the same likeness as Elijah. He had announced and ushered in Jesus, the Messiah.

Notice that in the conversation as they were leaving the mountain, Jesus said for them NOT to tell anyone of the experience that they had received.

This appearance of Moses and Elijah with Jesus revealed that the culmination of all the Old Testament prophecies are in Jesus Christ. It also revealed there is immortality in men who believe in God, and there are specific rewards given to each believer.

And the main thing this experience revealed to them is that Jesus is the main focal point of all faith. Should these disciples reveal these things to others before Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, it would bring confusion.

14 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. 17 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.

I believe Matthew shows here the constancy of Jesus' ministry. No sooner had they returned from the mountain, than Jesus is faced with another portion of His ministry - healing the sick. The Gospels clearly show that from the inception of His ministry, Jesus was constantly working. Until sin is ultimately banished to the eternal pit, there is no rest with God. He is constantly ministering to mankind; spelling out truth, healing, tending, mending.

And, yes, there are those who are demon-possessed (see verse 18). Jesus immediately recognized the problem, and with a simple statement rebuked the demon and the young man was healed.

Note the statement, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?" As we shall see in the following verses, this was not a statement revealing unbelief in Jesus as Messiah. Instead, it pointed to their faithlessness in utilizing what Christ had already given them. Back in Matthew 10, Jesus had given them power to cast out demons (See Matthew 10:8)

Indeed, how long shall Christ allow the church to live in faithlessness, not appropriating the power with which He has endowed it? How long shall faithless Christians sit in comfortable pews and not go unashamedly proclaiming the Gospel? See the next verses to obtain the answer.

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. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

The answer to the two questions above are: until man gets SERIOUS about being a genuine disciple of Jesus!

Seriousness in faith with Christ includes "prayer and fasting" often! It is our closeness with Christ through genuine worship that provides the power for proclaiming and ministering. Even when an average Christian genuinely spends time in Bible study, prayer and fasting, abnormal power for proclaiming and ministering is within him/her.

Reader, are YOU serious in your relationship with Christ?

22 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.

Jesus reiterates what He said in Matthew 16:21. He will be betrayed, delivered up to authorities. He will be killed - crucified. And He will RISE AGAIN!

Jesus' statement is meant to explain coming events, and to give HOPE to the hearts of His disciples. However, they felt sorrow at the statement. Why?

They did not realize that Jesus' death on the cross is payment by God to God for men's sins! They did not realize that for Christ to accept men, He must pay the price for their apology. You and I could not come to God for forgiveness, unless He was willing to "put away" the hurt done to Him by our sins. His love demanded salvation for His creation. But His truth demanded payment.

24 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.

A lesson in giving. The "tribute" was the 1/2 shekel tax by the Hebrews for the upkeep of the temple.

The question caught Peter offguard. He did not know how to answer, but He knew that Jesus did all things RIGHT! So his answer was, "YES!" THEN, as Peter came into the house where Jesus was, Jesus asked him the question in verse 25. Jesus KNEW what Peter was going through!

The question Jesus asked, made Peter understand that Jesus, as the Son of God, was exempt from paying a temple tax (see verse 26). He is the AUTHORITY! All others are "strangers!

But Jesus told Peter to WORK! He was to go to the sea and cast a hook. The FIRST fish Peter would catch would have the money necessary to pay both Jesus' temple tax and Peter's.

What Jesus told Peter is applicable to ALL Christians! Go WORK! And out of whatever Jesus provides, PAY! Give! The ongoing work of the church depends upon prayers and work of the saints!

Christians are to render support of the church through prayer, ministry and giving!

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.