UPDATE FOR ALL MY WONDERFUL READERS
We just concluded an exciting journey through Chapter 17 of Matthew. We saw where Jesus took His disciples to a place they had never been before, Caesarea Philippi, way up north toward Damascus in Syria. So while He was there, He had something to show them.
Jesus asked them what rumors were going around in the city about Him. They told him that some people were saying that He might be a reincarnation of Elijah, or Jeremiah, or the prophet spoken of by Moses. When asked what they thought about all this speculation, it was Peter whom God through the Holy Spirit inspired him to say: “You are the Anointed One, the Son of the living God.”
So Jesus decided to give them, even more, proof that He was, in fact, God’s Son. So they went out of town to a nearby mountain, and there Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him up on the mountain where He was transfigured right before their eyes, and they saw Him conversing with Moses and Elijah. He was so overcome that Peter suggested he be allowed to set up three holy tents in their honor. But Jesus knew such places would become objects of idolatry, so He rejected the idea.
Any thought that Jesus as the Messiah would now ride triumphant into Jerusalem with an army of followers in rebellion against Roman occupation and set Israel free was also quickly crushed. In fact, Jesus told them the future for Him looked very dim because He was destined to suffer and die.
As they descended the mountain to where the other disciples were waiting, Jesus was confronted by a man who had brought his son to be healed. But since Jesus was up on the mountain, he asked the disciples waiting there if they could heal his son who was possessed by an evil spirit that caused the boy to go into convulsions and threatened his life by throwing him into a fire and into water. But, alas, the disciples could not exorcise the demon.
Jesus was disappointed in both the man, those standing around watching, and His disciples. But out of compassion, He cast the demon out so that everyone would know that He was, in fact, the Messiah, the Son of God. However, when he arrived back in Capernaum, the tax collectors were waiting for Him. This gave Jesus the opportunity to teach a civics lesson to His disciples.
They began to more fully understand that they were citizens of two worlds, the one run by men and the other ruled by God. They were to carry out their responsibilities to both worlds without murmuring and complaining, until the day the world dominated by human force would be replaced by the world that was driven by divine power.
So with these incidents now part of their learning and growing experience, Jesus had put them on a path that would test everything they saw, heard, and accepted about His being the One sent by God from heaven to be the Savior of lost mankind. Yet, despite all that they were shown, their egos were inflated for all the wrong reasons as we will find out in the next chapter.
I appreciate and love all of you faithful readers who have stayed with me this far on our journey through Matthew. So our next lesson will begin in Matthew, Chapter 18. I pray that God will inspire you to come along for some exciting events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you.