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The Transfiguration

17 Six days later[a] Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James,[b] and led them privately up a high mountain. And he was transfigured before them.[c] His[d] face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. Then Moses[e] and Elijah[f] also appeared before them, talking with him. So[g] Peter said[h] to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, I will make[i] three shelters[j]—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a[k] bright cloud[l] overshadowed[m] them, and a voice from the cloud said,[n] “This is my one dear Son,[o] in whom I take great delight. Listen to him!”[p] When the disciples heard this, they were overwhelmed with fear and threw themselves down with their faces to the ground.[q] But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Do not be afraid.” When[r] they looked up, all they saw was Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them,[s] “Do not tell anyone about the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” 10 The disciples asked him,[t] “Why then do the experts in the law[u] say that Elijah must come first?” 11 He[v] answered, “Elijah does indeed come first and will restore all things. 12 And I tell you that Elijah has already come. Yet they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted. In[w] the same way, the Son of Man will suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.

The Disciples’ Failure to Heal

14 When[x] they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15 and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, because he has seizures[y] and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire and into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but[z] they were not able to heal him.” 17 Jesus answered,[aa] “You[ab] unbelieving[ac] and perverse generation! How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I endure[ad] you?[ae] Bring him here to me.” 18 Then[af] Jesus rebuked[ag] the demon and it came out of him, and the boy was healed from that moment. 19 Then the disciples came[ah] to Jesus privately and said, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?” 20 He told them, “It was because of your little faith. I tell you the truth,[ai] if you have faith the size of[aj] a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing[ak] will be impossible for you.”[al]

Second Prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

22 When[am] they gathered together in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.[an] 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they became greatly distressed.

The Temple Tax

24 After[ao] they arrived in Capernaum,[ap] the collectors of the temple tax[aq] came to Peter and said, “Your teacher pays the double drachma tax, doesn’t he?” 25 He said, “Yes.” When Peter came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first,[ar] “What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tolls or taxes—from their sons[as] or from foreigners?” 26 After he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons[at] are free. 27 But so that we don’t offend them, go to the lake and throw out a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a four drachma coin.[au] Take that and give it to them for me and you.”


  1. Matthew 17:1 tn Grk “And after six days.”
  2. Matthew 17:1 tn Grk “John his brother” with “his” referring to James.
  3. Matthew 17:2 sn In 1st century Judaism and in the NT, it was believed that the righteous would be given new, glorified bodies in order to enter heaven (cf. 1 Cor 15:42-49; 2 Cor 5:1-10). This transformation meant that the righteous will share the glory of God. The account of Jesus’ transfiguration here recalls the way Moses shared the Lord’s glory after his visit to the mountain in Exod 34:28-35. So the disciples saw Jesus transfigured, and they were getting a private preview of the great glory that Jesus would have following his exaltation.
  4. Matthew 17:2 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
  5. Matthew 17:3 tn Grk “And behold, Moses.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
  6. Matthew 17:3 sn Commentators and scholars discuss why Moses and Elijah are present. The most likely explanation is that Moses represents the prophetic office (Acts 3:18-22) and Elijah pictures the presence of the last days (Mal 4:5-6), the prophet of the eschaton (the end times).
  7. Matthew 17:4 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate that the appearance of Moses and Elijah prompted Peter’s comment.
  8. Matthew 17:4 tn Grk “Peter answering said.” This construction is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.
  9. Matthew 17:4 tc Instead of the singular future indicative ποιήσω (poiēsō, “I will make”), most witnesses (C3 D L W Γ Δ Θ [Φ] 0281 ƒ[1],13 33 1241 1424 M lat sy co) have the plural aorist subjunctive ποιήσωμεν (poiēsōmen, “let us make”). But since ποιήσωμεν is the reading found in the parallel accounts in Mark and Luke, it is likely a motivated reading. Further, the earliest and best witnesses, as well as a few others (א B C* 700* as well as some versional and patristic witnesses) have ποιήσω. It is thus more likely that the singular verb is authentic.
  10. Matthew 17:4 tn Or “booths,” “dwellings” (referring to the temporary booths constructed in the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles).sn Peter apparently wanted to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles or Booths that looked forward to the end and wanted to treat Moses, Elijah, and Jesus as equals by making three shelters (one for each). It was actually a way of expressing honor to Jesus, but the next verse makes it clear that it was not enough honor.
  11. Matthew 17:5 tn Grk “behold, a.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated here or in the following clause because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
  12. Matthew 17:5 sn This cloud is the cloud of God’s presence and the voice is his as well.
  13. Matthew 17:5 tn Or “surrounded.”
  14. Matthew 17:5 tn Grk “behold, a voice from the cloud, saying.” This is an incomplete sentence in Greek which portrays intensity and emotion. The participle λέγουσα (legousa) was translated as a finite verb in keeping with English style.
  15. Matthew 17:5 tn Grk “my beloved Son,” or “my Son, the beloved [one].” The force of ἀγαπητός (agapētos) is often “pertaining to one who is the only one of his or her class, but at the same time is particularly loved and cherished” (L&N 58.53; cf. also BDAG 7 s.v. 1).
  16. Matthew 17:5 sn The expression listen to him comes from Deut 18:15 and makes two points: 1) Jesus is a prophet like Moses, a leader-prophet, and 2) they have much yet to learn from him.
  17. Matthew 17:6 tn Grk “they fell down on their faces.” BDAG 815 s.v. πίπτω 1.b.α.ב. has “fall down, throw oneself to the ground as a sign of devotion, before high-ranking persons or divine beings.”
  18. Matthew 17:8 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  19. Matthew 17:9 tn Grk “Jesus commanded them, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant and has not been translated.
  20. Matthew 17:10 tn Grk “asked him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant and has not been translated.
  21. Matthew 17:10 tn Or “do the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.
  22. Matthew 17:11 tn Grk “And answering, he said.” This has been simplified in the translation.
  23. Matthew 17:12 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
  24. Matthew 17:14 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
  25. Matthew 17:15 tn Grk “he is moonstruck,” possibly meaning “lunatic” (so NAB, NASB), although now the term is generally regarded as referring to some sort of seizure disorder such as epilepsy (L&N 23.169; BDAG 919 s.v. σεληνιάζομαι).
  26. Matthew 17:16 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
  27. Matthew 17:17 tn Grk “And answering, Jesus said.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.
  28. Matthew 17:17 tn Grk “O.” The marker of direct address, (ō), is functionally equivalent to a vocative and is represented in the translation by “you.”
  29. Matthew 17:17 tn Or “faithless.”sn The rebuke for lack of faith has OT roots: Num 14:27; Deut 32:5, 20; Isa 59:8.
  30. Matthew 17:17 tn Or “put up with.” See Num 11:12; Isa 46:4.
  31. Matthew 17:17 sn The pronouns you…you are plural, indicating that Jesus is speaking to a group rather than an individual.
  32. Matthew 17:18 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then.”
  33. Matthew 17:18 tn Or “commanded” (often with the implication of a threat, L&N 33.331).
  34. Matthew 17:19 tn Grk “coming, the disciples said.” The participle προσελθόντες (proselthontes) has been translated as a finite verb to make the sequence of events clear in English.
  35. Matthew 17:20 tn Grk “For truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.” Here γάρ (gar) has not been translated.
  36. Matthew 17:20 tn Grk “faith as,” “faith like.”
  37. Matthew 17:20 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
  38. Matthew 17:20 tc Many significant mss (א* B Θ 0281 33 579 892* e ff1 sys,c sa) do not include 17:21 “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” The verse is included in א2 C D L W Γ Δ ƒ1, 13 565 579 700 1241 1424 M al lat sy(p),h, but is almost certainly not original. As Metzger notes, “Since there is no satisfactory reason why the passage, if originally present in Matthew, should have been omitted in a wide variety of witnesses, and since copyists frequently inserted material derived from another Gospel, it appears that most manuscripts have been assimilated to the parallel in Mk 9.29” (TCGNT 35). The present translation follows NA28 in omitting the verse number as well, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.
  39. Matthew 17:22 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  40. Matthew 17:22 tn The plural Greek term ἀνθρώπων (anthrōpōn) is considered by some to be used here in a generic sense, referring to both men and women (cf. NRSV “into human hands”; CEV “to people”). However, because this can be taken as a specific reference to the group responsible for Jesus’ arrest, where it is unlikely women were present (cf. Matt 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12), the word “men” has been retained in the translation. There may also be a slight wordplay with “the Son of Man” earlier in the verse.
  41. Matthew 17:24 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  42. Matthew 17:24 sn Capernaum was a town located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, 680 ft (204 m) below sea level. It existed since Hasmonean times and was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region. The population in the first century is estimated to be around 1,500. Capernaum became the hub of operations for Jesus’ Galilean ministry (Matt 4:13; Mark 2:1). In modern times the site was discovered in 1838 by the American explorer E. Robinson, and major excavations began in 1905 by German archaeologists H. Kohl and C. Watzinger. Not until 1968, however, were remains from the time of Jesus visible; in that year V. Corbo and S. Loffreda began a series of annual archaeological campaigns that lasted until 1985. This work uncovered what is thought to be the house of Simon Peter as well as ruins of the first century synagogue beneath the later synagogue from the fourth or fifth century A.D. Today gently rolling hills and date palms frame the first century site, a favorite tourist destination of visitors to the Galilee.
  43. Matthew 17:24 tn Grk “Collectors of the double drachma.” This is a case of metonymy, where the coin formerly used to pay the tax (the double drachma coin, or δίδραχμον [didrachmon]) was put for the tax itself (cf. BDAG 241 s.v.). Even though this coin was no longer in circulation in NT times and other coins were used to pay the tax, the name for the coin was still used to refer to the tax The temple tax refers to the half-shekel tax paid annually by male Jews to support the temple (Exod 30:13-16).
  44. Matthew 17:25 tn Grk “spoke first to him, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant in English and has not been translated.
  45. Matthew 17:25 sn The phrase their sons may mean “their citizens,” but the term “sons” has been retained here in order to preserve the implicit comparison between the Father and his Son, Jesus.
  46. Matthew 17:26 sn See the note on the phrase their sons in the previous verse.
  47. Matthew 17:27 sn The four drachma coin was a stater (στατήρ, statēr), a silver coin worth four drachmas. One drachma was equivalent to one denarius, the standard pay for a day’s labor (L&N 6.80).