Friday, February 14, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Matthew: Chapter 17

Matthew 17


-Six days after Christ’s words to His disciples about denying self, taking up the cross, and following Him He took His inner circle (Peter, James, and John) up on a high mountain to pray. During the course of this time of prayer Moses and Elijah appear and are talking with Jesus concerning His soon departure from earth in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). Peter, James, and John awake from sleep to witness this transfiguration of Christ along with the prophets of old (Luke 9:32). They hear the voice of the Lord coming out of the cloud that enveloped them and they were terrified and in great awe (John 1:14, 2 Peter 1:16-18). The LORD told them to listen to His Son and Chosen One. In a state of shock during the transfiguration Peter said that they should build a dwelling place there, a tabernacle. Luke tells us he didn’t even realize what he was saying at that point, which I think is humorous. When it was all said and done, Jesus warned them not to say anything about this incident until after He had risen from the dead (Matthew 17:9). *Application* When we go into His presence deeply in prayer and supplication we can experience the miraculous just as Peter, James, and John did. This was an incredible thing that they were able to witness, but we too can come into the presence of the LORD God Almighty feeling His power, authority, majesty, grace, and truth. He is the One who washes us whiter than any other cleaning could and makes us whole again. O Christian, pray in the Spirit and welcome all He has for you! It will leave you speechless and astounded to the point that your words make about as much sense as Peter’s J.

-Next, Jesus responds to an important question that His disciples asked Him concerning the prophecy of Elijah coming before the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6). We can see from this dialogue the role, purpose, and signs that were accompanied with this great prophet of God who prepared the way of the Lord. John the Baptist, who came in the spirit of Elijah, was not recognized because of the scribes and Pharisees hardness of heart and unwillingness to accept the things of God in Spirit and truth. He fulfilled and restored all things pertaining to the coming of the Messiah and Jesus was making this point to His closest followers for their understanding and insight. *Application* Once again we see the necessity for suffering in the Kingdom of God for gain and eternal blessing in the purposes of the LORD. If Christ Jesus was willing to undergo the pain and agony of rejection and torment, we should as well if and when it is required of us. This prophetic spirit of Elijah I believe will come again in the last days before Christ’s return (Malachi 4:5). He will give the final call to return to the LORD before His day of wrath and retribution because God always gives us every chance He can to come to Him. As the Spirit draws you to repentance and forgiveness receive what He has for you and do not neglect Him. Recognize your visitation from the LORD’s messenger.

-Then, Jesus rebukes the unbelieving and perverted generation, which could not drive out the demonic spirits within a lunatic-ill boy that was often sent into very destructive convulsions. Jesus states that it is only through prayer and fasting that this “kind” comes out. The theme is faith and the ultimate requirement for the supernatural to occur. The father cries out at one point that he believes and he wants Jesus to help his unbelief (Mark 9:24). *Application* If we want to move mountains literally or spiritually it takes only the faith of a mustard seed (a very small amount). We tend to be very skeptical in our natural state, and this, as we see in this passage, applies to all generations, not just our own. C.S. Lewis once stated, “We all have naturalism in our bones, and even conversion does not at once work the infection out of our system. Its assumptions rush back upon the mind the moment vigilance is relaxed.” Today, in your own heart, turn this battle over to the Lord and trust in the supernatural things He can do. Quit the doubt, get help for your unbelief realizing the Lord can’t stand it. It makes Him angry in fact (Matthew 17:17).

-The next passage in the chapter tells us that Jesus tried to teach His disciples what was about to happen to Him as He would be handed over to the hands of men to be crucified with the end result being resurrection. They did not perceive His message, were afraid to ask questions, and were deeply grieved at the things He was telling them (Mark 9:31-32, Luke 9:43-45). For the disciples, full clarity only came with the actual events of Jesus’ passion and resurrection. *Application* Sometimes when we are taught things by instruction or given directions for a task, we just don’t get it and our understanding is simply not there. We need a re-explanation or further insight into the matter where we are unknowledgeable. Don’t refrain from gaining more insight by asking questions and probing into the exact meaning of what you are being asked to do or understand. Communication is a two way process and sometimes the teacher needs feedback so that they understand that their message has not gotten through. If you find yourself as the teacher, make sure you are clarifying your message by getting the feedback from your pupil or pupils. Having them restate what you’ve taught them will assure you that they got the point and allow for further instruction if necessary.

-Lastly, as they came to again to Capernaum, the tax collectors wanted some money from Peter and Jesus, and the Lord took this opportunity to produce the required drachmas from a fish in the Sea of Galilee. They still have these bottom feeders that engulf every type of metal objects in this region. So, the miracle wasn’t so much that there was money in the fish, but the point of the conversation between Jesus and Peter. Peter answers the question concerning family or strangers being collected from without really knowing the full answer. Jesus uses the incident to teach on His supply for all of our needs and subjection to earthly authorities in their local laws, rules, and regulations for the purpose of representing our King in Heaven well even if we are exempt as sons of the Kingdom. *Application* We are not to be an offense to rulers of this world, but ambassadors for the Kingdom of God (2 Corinthians 5:20). Conduct all of your business with integrity and class under God’s command knowing that the LORD will provide for your every need and protect you even against the devourer (Malachi 3:10-12).



Verses to Memorize: Matthew 17:12, 27

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