Matthew 17 Reading Guide
v1-8 - Jesus took three of His disciples up a mountain, which as we've seen reading through the gospels, was a regular activity for Jesus as He sought quiet place to experience silence & solitude. But this experience was different.
Both Matthew and Mark write that Jesus was transfigured, which is the same word we use to describe a caterpillar turning into a butterfly (the Greek word is metaporphoo).
This word is used two other times in the Bible illustrating that Christians are undergoing a metamorphosis as our lives become more and more sanctified (made holy) (Romans 12:2 and 2 Cor. 3:18).
This means your life must be substantially different than your non-Christian friends and neighbors. Is it?
Once again, the voice of God booms directly from heaven.
God speaks some familiar words, echoing what He said at Jesus' baptism:
whom I love;
with him I am well pleased.
But this time, God adds an imperative to His indicative statement. He commands us to Listen to Him.
v9-13 - Jesus helps his disciples understand that although He is fulfilling all of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, the fulfillments might look different than what they were expecting.
v14-21 - After the ultimate mountaintop experience, Jesus and His disciples descend back into the valley to find a massive squabble occurring between the other disciples, the Establishment and a man who just wants his son to be healed (Matthew doesn't write about this argument, but Mark adds that detail, which is critical to understanding why Jesus seems to snap at the father).
Matthew's account focuses on the lack of faith that disciples demonstrated.
Jesus famously uses the tiny mustard seed to demonstrate the power of faith can harness.
In doing so, Jesus teaches us that it's not faith in and of itself that has power, but rather that faith is a conduit through which God's power flows.
Understanding this distinction helps us understand why we don't seem much mountain moving going on.
It's not that there are no Christians in this world who have more than a mustard seed's worth of faith.
Rather, since it's God's power that's being called upon, not the 'power of faith,' the subsequent action must be something that's aligned with God's will.
God is apparently pleased with where He's placed the mountains in this world, and it's not His will to move any of them. Therefore, no matter how big your faith is, God will not supply the necessary power to accomplish something He doesn't want done.
When, however, you're will is aligned with God's will, even the smallest amount of faith can channel God's power into accomplishing amazing feats.
v22-23 - This is the second time that Jesus predicts both His death and His resurrection, and this is the second time the disciples only focus on His death and don't even seem to hear the resurrection part.
v24-27 - Wouldn't you have loved to see the look on Jesus' face when Peter came back from his fishing trip in v27?
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— Can you name all six men who were on the high mountain in the incident described at the beginning of this chapter? (See verses 1–3.)
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: A holy, perfect & righteous God who is well pleased with His Son, Jesus Christ (v5). Thank Him that you can come to Him without fear (v7)!
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Listen to God's Word - Jesus! (v5)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: When your requests are aligned with God's will, you can move mountains with your faith!