01/26

January 26

Matthew 17

 

THE TRANSFIGURATION

In verses 1-13, Jesus and three of the disciples participate in a supernatural open vision. This is the type of vision where the physical realm is affected. During this vision, Jesus talks with Moses and Elijah. Jesus has a light radiating from Him, a light that makes His face shine and His clothes white as the light. Then a voice from heaven says, “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 

 

Obviously, Jesus wanted the three disciples to witness the vision, but He did not want the vision to be revealed until after His death. After seeing Elijah in the vision, the disciples asked about him, knowing Malachi prophesied the Elijah would come before Christ’s kingdom. Their specific question was, “Why do the scribes say Elijah must come first (Malachi 4:5)?” Jesus said the reason why Elijah was to come first was because he would help to restore things. To restore means to return to a former state, to make right. The disciples understood that John the Baptist was a type of Elijah. John’s ministry started before Jesus’ ministry. John was the first prophet to preach messages for God in four hundred and thirty years. He preached a repentance, a returning back to God. Jesus said that John suffered at the hands of evil people, and Jesus knew that He would soon suffer. 

 

During the vision, we don’t know what was being said between Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. However, Jesus did speak of His coming death. He wanted the three disciples (Peter, James, and John) to be encouraged to stand strong. These disciples seemed to be closer to Jesus than the rest (Matthew 20:20; 26:37). 

 

DISCIPLES FAIL TO CAST OUT A DEMON

In verses 14-21 we read the story of the failure of the disciples to cast out a spirit. Jesus was able. The disciples, when alone with Jesus, wanted to know why they failed. Jesus responded, “Because of your little faith.” The Greek word is apistia and it means “unfaithful,” meaning it can’t be relied upon. (“A” is a negative root word. “Pistos” means “can be relied upon.)” 

 

Faith is dependency on God, full dependency. Jesus went on to say that this kind of spirit would not be moved without prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting is time spent in the presence of God, not relying on anything but God. Fasting will make more power available after spending time with God in the spirit. 

 

PAYING TAXES

The temple tax was a tax Herod put on the Jews for using the temple. Herod had turned the temple into a sort of shopping mall. Jesus knows the disciples were being questioned about paying this tax to use their own temple (word of knowledge). Then Jesus asks Peter, do you think sons are required to pay tax? No, they shouldn’t have to pay tax for their own temple. However, Jesus did not want to offend the civil leaders, so He performed a money miracle. He told Peter to go fishing, and from the first fish, look inside and there he would find the money for the tax for Himself and Peter. Jesus did not agree with the laws, but He obeyed the laws when they didn’t interfere with God’s authority. We can learn from the Christ in regard to our own submission to government. 

 

Exodus 14-15

 

THE SONG OF MOSES

Moses and the people respond to their miraculous deliverance with worship. One powerful phrase of this song is found in Exodus 15:16 where they sing about themselves, “Whom You have purchased.” This Red Sea experience is a deliverance and the song is a song of redemption. Glory to God!

 

THE PROPHETESS’ SONG

Miriam was Moses’ sister, but she also was said to be in the office of a prophet. She is also the one who watched over her baby brother as he floated down the river. Now here she is, over 80 years old, leading women with music and dance, answering them in song.

 

BITTER WATERS MADE SWEET

For three days the Israelites were in the wilderness with no water. Three days later, they complained of having no water. May I also mentioned that the human body cannot live for three days without water, depending on the circumstances and the person. The circumstances here was a desert and traveling people. The waters around them were bitter, or salty. Drinking salty water would only increase their need. They seriously needed a miracle. 

 

Moses cried out to God on the third day, and on the third day, God provided a miracle. The Lord showed a tree to Moses, instructed him to throw the tree into the water. When he did, the salty water became fresh, or sweet. There the Lord gave Israel an ordinance, stating, IF you will do something, THEN I will do something. 

 

I AM THE LORD WHO HEALS YOU

The ordinance stated that IF Israel would diligently do what was right, THEN God would not put any disease, or allow any disease, to come on them that God had permitted to be brought on the Egyptians. He said, “For I am the LORD who heals you.” This is the first time God reveals Himself to Israel as Jehovah Rapha. Jehovah is Yahweh, the Lord. The Hebrew word for Rapha means “to cure, heal, repair, mend, restore health.” The main idea of this verb is physical healing. God is the Lord, our physician, our healer. 

 

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