Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Matthew 17

The Transfiguration

Jesus took Peter James and John up a high mountain by themselves. Jesus was bright like the sun and Moses and Elijah was there talking with them. God said through a cloud that Jesus was his son. The disciples were terrified and bowed down. Jesus said it was ok and when they looked up they saw only Jesus.

Jesus told them not to tell anyone about it until he is raised from the dead. He says that Elijah had already come back as John the Baptist. They killed him and they will kill Jesus too.

I'm surprised I've never heard of this scene before.

Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon

Some kid was not able to be healed by the disciples so he was brought to Jesus, who was able to heal him. The disciples asked why they were not able to heal the kid and Jesus said it is because they lacked faith.

Wow, it seems like Jesus picked some really poor choices for disciples. They get powers and STILL don't have faith!

then Jesus says "if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you"

I have heard Atheist's use this verse (or perhaps a similar one, is there another verse that sounds kinda like this?) to claim that prayers will come true if you have faith. But this seems to be specifically talking to his disciples. Unless Jesus has said that ANYONE can do the other miracles if they have enough faith or something.

[edit]-look at 21:21-22

Jesus Again Fortells Death, Resurrection

Title says it all

The Temple Tax

The temple wants to tax Jesus for speaking there. He tells Peter to go fishing and the first fish will have a shekel, use that to pay the tax.

what? I don't get this at all


  1. Transfiguration. The passage says that Matthew told of this happening 6 days after he foretold of his death, but when we get to Luke 9:27-26, he says its 6. He also tells them that John the Baptist was Elijah, but again, in the gospel of John, first chapter verse 21, he denied being Elijah.
    With the last story, I can imagine Derren Brown doing something similar =P

  2. I did a google search on the story and got three different takes. I thought I'd take the “meaty” stuff. Feel free to check out the links and read the whole context.

    The first one was from:
    “So, let’s get this straight. Israel, who didn’t want to be under Roman rule, had to pay them money to add insult to injury. All of this kind of makes it understandable why people back in Biblical times (as well as today) looked at tax collectors with a lifted eyebrow doesn’t it? Maybe it’s the words excessive and exorbitant that sorta makes it all feel unfair too. One thing's for sure, they didn’t like it.” He then mentions that Matthew was a tax collector before following Jesus. “ Then his take on how things went town. “At any rate, let's get back to our coin in fish mouth story. They asked Peter if Jesus paid tribute. (Think of the audacity of this … really. They were asking Peter if the Son of God paid taxes!) Peter said, Yes. And when he went into the house, Jesus stopped Peter and said, What do you think Simon? Who do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute from? From their own children, or from strangers? Peter answered Him, From strangers. Then Jesus said, Then the children are free. (More humble humor here … the kings of earth collect taxes from strangers, yet they are requiring tribute from the King of kings, Honestly.) “ He then went on to say that if you pray, possibly God will send you a metaphorical fish, and that you might possibly be someone else's fish, bringing the coin. Careful, as when I right clicked the passages the page said it was copyrighted. I just hit control copy. I don't think they have a way of tracking that stuff though.

    The second thing that came up was:
    Their final analysis. “As I was imagining a silver coin in a fish's mouth, I was reminded of the fact that fish are attracted to shiny silver objects. Fishing lures are often just that. And then it hit me: Did God really put the coin in the fish's mouth or was it there already? If someone dropped a silver coin overboard from a boat, it seems quite plausible that a fish might indeed try to swallow it.

    So, contrary to my initial assumption, it became clear that God didn't put the coin in the fish's mouth to make some kind of symbolic point. The coin was already there, God knew it was there, and He somehow led that fish to Peter's hook. This was indeed miraculous, but I think it also reveals something about God's character. Someone with God's abilities could surely have forged a coin and popped it into Peter's hand, but He didn't do that. He didn't have to resort to forgery. He knew where there was a coin no one was using at the moment, lodged in the mouth of a fish nearby. And as for the fish, while it would sting to be caught on a hook, it would no doubt be a relief to have the coin removed, and maybe Peter tossed him back in the sea, who knows. I would like to think this is what happened. ”

    And lastly:
    I just took the interpretation section and pasted it here.
    “As son of the temple owner, he is exempt from the temple tax. And as such, so are the rest of God’s family. And you become part of the family by faith - believing in Jesus. OT saints believed in God and had to pay the tax. Now he is telling them that they don’t need to pay the temple tax anymore. The Temple is going down. He has taken the keys of the kingdom from the Jews and given them to the Disciples and the Gentiles. ”

    These were the first three pages that came up on my search, but I feel like there is no real consensus on interpretation. I imagine that many pastors have their own take on the story.

  3. Interesting links on the coin in the mouth of a fish story, seems like they are grasping at straws to me.


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