Matthew Chapter 17
The transfiguration of Jesus

1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they were alone.

2 Jesus¡¯ appearance was changed before them: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became bright as light.

3 Just then Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus.

4 Peter spoke and said to Jesus, ¡°Master, it is good that we are here. If you so wish, I will make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.¡±

5 Peter was still speaking when a bright cloud covered them in its shadow, and a voice from the cloud said, ¡°This is my Son, the Beloved, my Chosen One. Listen to him.¡±

6 On hearing the voice, the disciples fell to the ground, full of fear.

7 But Jesus came, touched them and said, ¡°Stand up, do not be afraid.¡±

8 When they raised their eyes, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus.

9 And as they came down the mountain, Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what they had just seen, until the Son of Man be raised from the dead.

10 The disciples then asked him, ¡°Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah must come first?¡±

11 And Jesus answered, ¡°So it is: first comes Elijah to set ev erything as it has to be.

12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come and they did not recognize him, but treated him as they pleased. And they will also make the Son of Man suffer.¡±

13 Then the disciples understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist.

Jesus heals an epileptic boy

14 When they met the people, a man approached Jesus, knelt before him and said,

15 ¡°Sir, have pity on my son who is an epileptic and is in a wretched state. He has often fallen into the fire and at other times into the water.

16 I brought him to your disciples but they could not heal him.¡±

17 Jesus replied, ¡°You, faithless and evil peo ple! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.¡±

18 And Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave the boy, and the boy was immediately healed.

19 The disciples then gathered around Jesus and asked him privately, ¡°Why couldn¡¯t we drive out the spirit?¡±

20 Jesus said to them, ¡°Because you have little faith. I say to you: if only you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell that mountain to move from here to there, and the moun tain would obey. Nothing would be impossible to you.

21 (Only prayer and fasting can drive out this kind of spirit.¡±)

22 While Jesus was in Galilee with the Twelve, he said to them, ¡°The Son of Man will be delivered into human hands,

23 and they will kill him. But he will rise on the third day.¡± The Twelve were deeply grieved.

The Temple tax

24 When they returned to Caper naum, the Temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, ¡°Does your mas ter pay the temple tax?¡±

25 He answered, ¡°Certainly.¡±
Peter then entered the house, but im mediately Jesus asked him, ¡°What do you think, Simon? Who pay taxes or tributes to the kings of the earth: their sons or the other people?¡±

26 Peter replied, ¡°The others.¡± And Jesus told him, ¡°The sons, then, are tax-free.

27 But so as not to offend these people, go to the sea, throw in a hook and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin in it, take it and let it pay for you and for me.¡±


Comments Mathew, Chapter 17

• 17.1 See commentaries on Mark 9:2 and Luke 9:28.

• 14. See commentary on Mark 9:14.

Verse 21 is lacking in many old texts: compare with Mk 8:28-29.

• 22. Several times Jesus announced his death: see 16:21; 20:17. Never did he present it as a misfortune that might counteract his mission. John will say that Jesus looked for it as the means for giving glory to his Father and reconciling humankind (Jn 17). Jesus speaks of himself in the third person: the Son of Man, because he looks at his destiny as an outsider. This is the will of his Father, and he is not concerned about himself.

• 24. All the Jews paid a tax for the maintenance of the Temple.

The collectors approach Peter as owner of the house where Jesus also lives.

Jesus observes the Law, but takes this opportunity to give a hint as to who he is: the collectors do not realize they are addressing ¡°the Son.¡± Notice how the Lord has control over all creatures even fish, and see also his intimate solidarity with Peter.

The coin mentioned in 27 was worth the Temple tax. Matthew may have had a special interest for this story because at the time he wrote Christians of Jewish origins were wondering whether they should be still paying this tax.