1 And after sixe dayes, Iesus taketh Peter, Iames, and Iohn his brother, and bringeth them vp into an high mountaine apart,
2 And was transfigured before them, and his face did shine as the Sunne, and his raiment was white as the light.
3 And behold, there appeared vnto them Moses, and Elias, talking with him.
4 Then answered Peter, and saide vnto Iesus, Lord, it is good for vs to be here: If thou wilt, let vs make here three tabernacles: one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud ouershadowed them: and behold a voyce out of the cloude, which saide, This is my beloued sonne, in whom I am well pleased: heare ye him.
6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
7 And Iesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
8 And when they had lift vp their eyes, they saw no man, saue Iesus only.
9 And as they came downe from the mountaine, Iesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, vntil the sonne of man bee risen againe from the dead.
10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the Scribes that Elias must first come?
11 And Iesus answered, and said vnto them, Elias truely shall first come, and restore all things:
12 But I say vnto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but haue done vnto him whatsoeuer they listed: Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
13 Then the Disciples vnderstood that he spake vnto them of Iohn the Baptist.
14 ¶ And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certaine man, kneeling downe to him, and saying,
15 Lord, haue mercie on my sonne, for he is lunatike, and sore vexed: for oft times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
17 Then Iesus answered, and said, O faithlesse and peruerse generation, how long shall I bee with you? howe long shal I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
18 And Iesus rebuked the deuill, and hee departed out of him: and the childe was cured from that very houre.
19 Then came the Disciples to Iesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Iesus said vnto them, Because of your vnbeliefe: for verily I say vnto you, If yee haue faith as a graine of mustard seed, yee shall say vnto this mountaine; Remoue hence to yonder place: and it shall remoue, and nothing shall be vnpossible vnto you.
21 Howbeit, this kind goeth not out, but by prayer and fasting.
22 ¶ And while they abode in Galilee, Iesus said vnto them, The sonne of man shall be betraied into the hands of men:
23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised againe: And they were exceeding sorie.
24 ¶ And when they were come to Capernaum, they that receiued tribute money, came to Peter, and said, Doeth not your master pay tribute?
25 Hee saith, Yes. And when hee was come into the house, Iesus preuented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom doe the kings of the earth take custome or tribute? of their owne children, or of strangers?
26 Peter saith vnto him, Of strangers. Iesus saith vnto him, Then are the children free.
27 Notwithstanding, least we should offend them, goe thou to the Sea, and cast an hooke, and take vp the fish that first commeth vp: and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and giue vnto them for me, and thee.
The transfiguration of Christ. (1-13) Jesus casts out a dumb and deaf spirit. (14-21) He again foretells his sufferings. (22,23) He works a miracle to pay the tribute money. (24-27)1-13 Now the disciples beheld somewhat of Christ's glory, as of the only begotten of the Father. It was intended to support their faith, when they would have to witness his crucifixion; and would give them an idea of the glory prepared for them, when changed by his power and made like him. The apostles were overcome by the glorious sight. Peter thought that it was most desirable to continue there, and to go no more down to meet the sufferings of which he was so unwilling to hear. In this he knew not what he said. We are wrong, if we look for a heaven here upon earth. Whatever tabernacles we propose to make for ourselves in this world, we must always remember to ask Christ's leave. That sacrifice was not yet offered, without which the souls of sinful men could not have been saved; and important services were to be done by Peter and his brethren. While Peter spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, an emblem of the Divine presence and glory. Ever since man sinned, and heard God's voice in the garden, unusual appearances of God have been terrible to man. They fell prostrate to the earth, till Jesus encouraged them; when looking round, they beheld only their Lord as they commonly saw him. We must pass through varied experiences in our way to glory; and when we return to the world after an ordinance, it must be our care to take Christ with us, and then it may be our comfort that he is with us.
14-21 The case of afflicted children should be presented to God by faithful and fervent prayer. Christ cured the child. Though the people were perverse, and Christ was provoked, yet care was taken of the child. When all other helps and succours fail, we are welcome to Christ, may trust in him, and in his power and goodness. See here an emblem of Christ's undertaking as our Redeemer. It encourages parents to bring children to Christ, whose souls are under Satan's power; he is able to heal them, and as willing as he is able. Not only bring them to Christ by prayer, but bring them to the word of Christ; to means by which Satan's strong-holds in the soul are beaten down. It is good for us to distrust ourselves and our own strength; but it is displeasing to Christ when we distrust any power derived from him, or granted by him. There was also something in the malady which rendered the cure difficult. The extraordinary power of Satan must not discourage our faith, but quicken us to more earnestness in praying to God for the increase of it. Do we wonder to see Satan's bodily possession of this young man from a child, when we see his spiritual possession of every son of Adam from the fall!
22,23 Christ perfectly knew all things that should befall him, yet undertook the work of our redemption, which strongly shows his love. What outward debasement and Divine glory was the life of the Redeemer! And all his humiliation ended in his exaltation. Let us learn to endure the cross, to despise riches and worldly honours, and to be content with his will.
24-27 Peter felt sure that his Master was ready to do what was right. Christ spoke first to give him proof that no thought can be withholden from him. We must never decline our duty for fear of giving offence; but we must sometimes deny ourselves in our worldly interests, rather than give offence. However the money was lodged in the fish, He who knows all things alone could know it, and only almighty power could bring it to Peter's hook. The power and the poverty of Christ should be mentioned together. If called by providence to be poor, like our Lord, let us trust in his power, and our God shall supply all our need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. In the way of obedience, in the course, perhaps, of our usual calling, as he helped Peter, so he will help us. And if any sudden call should occur, which we are not prepared to meet, let us not apply to others, till we first seek Christ.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.