View Matthew 17 in the note window.
1: A high mountain - Probably Mount Tabor.(Mk 9:2,Lu 9:28).
2: And was transfigured - Or transformed. The indwelling Deity
darted out its rays through the veil of the flesh; and that with
such transcendent splendour, that he no longer bore the form of
a servant. His face shone with Divine majesty, like the sun in
its strength; and all his body was so irradiated by it, that
his clothes could not conceal its glory, but became white and
glittering as the very light, with which he covered himself as
with a garment.
3: There appeared Moses and Elijah - Here for the full confirmation
of their faith in Jesus, Moses, the giver of the law, Elijah, the
most zealous of all the prophets, and God speaking from heaven,
all bore witness to him.
4: Let us make three tents - The words of rapturous surprise.
He says three, not six: because the apostles desired to be
with their Master.
5: Hear ye him - As superior even to Moses and the prophets.
See (De 18:17).
7: Be not afraid - And doubtless the same moment he gave them
courage and strength.
9: Tell the vision to no man - Not to the rest of the disciples,
lest they should be grieved and discouraged because they were
not admitted to the sight: nor to any other persons, lest it
should enrage some the more, and his approaching sufferings
shall make others disbelieve it; till the Son of man be risen
again - Till the resurrection should make it credible, and confirm
their testimony about it.
10: Why then say the scribes, that Elijah must come first - Before
the Messiah? If no man is to know of his coming? Should we not
rather tell every man, that he is come, and that we have seen
him, witnessing to thee as the Messiah?
11: Regulate all things - In order to the coming of Christ.
12: Elijah is come already - And yet when the Jews asked John,
Art thou Elijah? He said, I am not,(Joh 1:21). His meaning was, I am not Elijah the Tishbite,
come again into the world. But he was the person of whom
Malachi prophesied under that name.
14: (Mk 9:14,Lu 11:37).
15: He is lunatic - This word might with great propriety he used,
though the case was mostly preternatural; as the evil spirit
would undoubtedly take advantage of the influence which the
changes of the moon have on the brain and nerves.
17: O unbelieving and perverse generation - Our Lord speaks
principally this to his disciples. How long shall I be with
you? - Before you steadfastly believe?
20: Because of your unbelief - Because in this particular they had
not faith. If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed - That is,
the least measure of it. But it is certain, the faith which is
here spoken of does not always imply saving faith. Many have had
it who thereby cast out devils, and yet will at last have their
portion with them. It is only a supernatural persuasion given a
man, that God will work thus by him at that hour. Now, though I
have all this faith so as to remove mountains, yet if I have not
the faith which worketh by love, I am nothing.
To remove mountains was a proverbial phrase among the Jews, and
is still retained in their writings, to express a thing which is
very difficult, and to appearance impossible.(Mt 21:21,Lu 17:6).
21: This kind of devils - goeth not out but by prayer and fasting
- What a testimony is here of the efficacy of fasting, when added
to fervent prayer! Some kinds of devils the apostles had cast
out before this, without fasting.
22: (Mk 9:30,Lu 9:44).
24: When they were come to Capernaum - Where our Lord now dwelt.
This was the reason why they stayed till he came thither, to ask
him for the tribute. Doth not your Master pay tribute? - This was
a tribute or payment of a peculiar kind, being half a shekel,
(that is, about fifteen pence,) which every master of a family
used to pay yearly to the service of the temple, to buy salt, and
little things not otherwise provided for. It seems to have been
a voluntary thing, which custom rather than any law had established.
25: Jesus prevented him - Just when St. Peter was going to ask him
for it. Of their own sons, or of strangers? - That is, such as are
not of their own family.
26: Then are the sons free - The sense is, This is paid for the use
of the house of God. But I am the Son of God. Therefore I am
free from any obligation of paying this to my own Father.
27: Yet that, we may not offend them - Even those unjust,
unreasonable men, who claim what they have no manner of right
to: do not contest it with them, bat rather yield to their
demand, than violate peace or love. O what would not one of
a loving spirit do for peace! Any thing which is not expressly
forbidden in the word of God. A piece of money - The original
word is a stater, which was in value two shillings and sixpence:
just the sum that was wanted. Give for me and thee - Peter had a
family of his own: the other apostles were the family of Jesus.
How illustrious a degree of knowledge and power did our Lord
here discover! Knowledge, penetrating into this animal, though
beneath the waters; and power, in directing this very fish to
Peter's hook, though he himself was at a distance! How must
this have encouraged both him and his brethren in a firm
dependence on Divine Providence.