Jesus Is Transfigured.[a] 1 Six days later, Jesus took Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain[b] by themselves. 2 And in their presence he was transfigured; his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, conversing with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will make three tents here—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud cast a shadow over them. Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were greatly frightened. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Stand up, and do not be frightened.” 8 And when they raised their eyes, they saw no one, but only Jesus.
Elijah Has Already Come.[c] 9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one about this vision until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 10 And the disciples asked him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11 He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come, and he will set everything right again. 12 However, I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. In 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.
14 Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon.[d] When they returned to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, fell to his knees before him, 15 and pleaded, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is subject to epileptic seizures and endures great suffering. He falls often into fire and often into water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
17 Jesus said in reply, “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how much longer shall I remain with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was cured from that very moment.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked him privately, “Why were we not able to cast it out?” 20 He answered, “Because you have such little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith as tiny as a mustard seed, you will be able to say to this mountain: ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. [ 21 But this kind of demon does not come out except by prayer and fasting.]”[e]
22 Jesus Predicts His Passion a Second Time.[f] When they were together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were overwhelmed with grief.
24 Jesus Pays the Temple Tax.[g] When they arrived at Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came up to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” 25 “Yes, he does,” he replied.
When Peter went into the house, but before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “Simon, what is your opinion? From whom do the kings of the earth exact tolls and taxes—from their own sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus replied, “Then their sons are exempt. 27 However, lest we give offense to them, go to the lake and cast a hook. Take the first fish that you catch and open its mouth. There you will find a silver coin. Take it and give it to them for me and for yourself.”
- Matthew 17:1 At the Transfiguration, the same voice that at the moment of his Baptism had indicated to Jesus the way of a suffering Messianism now manifests him as the true Messiah to the three apostles who would witness his agony in the garden. For a few seconds Jesus’ humanity is resplendent with the divine glory of which he had divested himself during his earthly life.
- Matthew 17:1 A high mountain: since the 4th century, this has been identified with Tabor (1843 feet high) on the Plain of Esdraelon.
- Matthew 17:9 According to an ancient story, Elijah was assumed into heaven, while a prophecy claimed that he would return to prepare the people for the Messianic Age (see Mal 3:23-24; Sir 48:1-11).
- Matthew 17:14 This miracle has the purpose of highlighting the power of Jesus against the power of Satan, thus erasing all doubts that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus states with some disappointment that not even his disciples have attained true faith.
- Matthew 17:21 This verse is missing in the most important manuscripts and seems to be taken from Mk 9:29.
- Matthew 17:22 This is the second of Christ’s three predictions of his Passion (see Mt 16:21-23) and the least detailed. The disciples are overwhelmed with grief.
- Matthew 17:24 On reaching the age of twenty, every Jew had to pay two drachmas each year (Ex 30:13; 2 Chr 24:9; Neh 10:32). It was approximately two days’ wages and was used for the upkeep of the temple. The two drachmas had to be paid in Jewish money; this explains the presence of money changers in the entrance halls of the temple (Mt 21:12; Jn 2:15). Silver coin: literally, a “stater,” which was worth four drachmas, or twice the amount of the tax.
Jesus submits to the law out of respect for others, but he affirms that as Son of Man he is not bound by it. Christians who obey the law remain free with respect to all authority and are subject to God alone.