About a week later, Jesus led Peter, John, and James up a high mountain to be alone with them. He was transformed in front of them as he was praying. His face began to shine like the sun and his clothes became radiant with a white light. Suddenly Elijah and Moses appeared in glory and began talking with Jesus about his upcoming death that was to happen in Jerusalem.
Peter said to Jesus, “Teacher, it is good that we are here! Let us make three shelters, one for each of you.” He didn’t know what he should say because they were all terrified.
While he was speaking, a bright cloud formed around them and overshadowed them. A voice came from the cloud saying “This is my beloved Son, the chosen One! I take delight in him, listen to him!”
The disciples were even more terrified when they heard this voice, and they fell facedown. Then Jesus came up to them and touched them, saying “Get up. Don’t be afraid.” Then they noticed that they were alone with Jesus – Elijah and Moses were gone.
While they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus said “Don’t tell anybody about what you just saw until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” They spoke about the event only among themselves, wondering what being “raised from the dead” meant.
The disciples began to question him, saying “Why do the Jewish leaders say that Elijah must come first?”
“Elijah does come first and will restore everything,” he answered. “But I tell you that Elijah has already come and they didn’t recognize him, but did whatever they wanted to him, just as it was prophesied. The Son of Man is going to suffer in the same way.”
The disciples then understood that he was talking about John the Baptist.
MT 17:1-13, MK 9:2-13, LK 9:28-36
The power of faith over a demon
A large crowd met them when they came down from the mountain the next day. Scribes were arguing with the rest of the disciples. Jesus asked them “What are you arguing with them about?”
A man in the crowd answered, saying “Lord, have compassion on my only son. He has a spirit that makes him shriek instead of being able to speak normally. Often the spirit seizes him and makes him have convulsions. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid when this happens. The spirit often throws him to the ground or into fire or water. I asked your disciples to drive the demon out of my son but they couldn’t.”
Jesus said “You unbelieving and corrupt generation! How long will I be here with you to help you out? How long must I put up with your lack of faith? Bring your son to me.”
They brought the boy, and when the spirit saw Jesus it immediately made the boy have convulsions. He fell on the ground, rolling around, and was foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked the father “How long has this been happening?”
“From his childhood,” said the boy’s father. “It has often tried to destroy him. If you are able to do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
“’If you are able’? Everything is possible if you believe.” Jesus replied.
The boy’s father immediately cried out “I believe! Help my unbelief!”
Then Jesus noticed a large crowd was quickly gathering around them. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you to come out of him and never enter him again.” It came out of the boy, making him violently convulse and shriek. Many people in the crowd thought he was dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, helped him stand up, and gave him back to his father. The boy was healed from that moment on. The crowd was amazed at the greatness of God.
Later the disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He told them “This kind of spirit can only come out by prayer and fasting.”
MT 17:14-21, MK 9:14-29, LK 9:37-43a
The second prediction of his death
The crowds were amazed at everything he was doing. Then Jesus started traveling through Galilee, away from the crowds. Jesus was teaching his disciples while they were there.
“Mark my words: the Son of Man is about to be handed over to men. They will kill him and he will be raised up three days later.”
They were deeply distressed and did not understand this statement because the meaning was concealed from them.
They were afraid to ask him what he meant.
MT 17:22-23, MK 9:30-32, LK 9:43b-45
Paying the Temple tax
When they came to Capernaum, the people who collected the double drachma tax for Temple maintenance approached
Peter and said “Doesn’t your teacher pay the double drachma tax?”
Peter answered “Yes.”
When he went to the house, Jesus started talking about what had just happened before Peter had a chance say anything. “What do you think, Simon Peter? Do earthly kings collect taxes from their sons or from strangers?”
“From strangers,” he answered.
“Then the sons owe nothing. But so we won’t annoy them, do this: go cast your fishing line into the sea and catch the first fish that comes up. You’ll find a coin in its mouth. Give it to them to pay the tax for me and you.”
Who is the most important?
The disciples came up to Jesus and asked him “Who is the most important in the kingdom of heaven?” They had been arguing about it.
To answer them, he called a child to him and had him stand in the middle of them. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be the most important, he has to be the least important, even like a servant to everyone.
Mark my words: unless you change your ways and become innocent like children you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever is able to humble himself in the same way that this child is, that person is the most important in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives an innocent child like this in my name is also welcoming me. And whoever welcomes me also welcomes the One who sent me.”
MT 18:1-5, MK 9:33-37, LK 9:46-48
“It is impossible to avoid the causes of sin, but it is a terrible thing to be someone who is responsible for those stumbling blocks! He would be better off if a huge rock were to be tied around his neck and he was thrown into the sea than for him to cause the downfall of an innocent person who believes in me!”
MT 18:6-7, LK 17:1-2, MK 9:42
“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Likewise, if your eye leads you into temptation then gouge it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one of the parts of your body than for all of your body to go to hell, where the prophet Isaiah tells us that ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire never goes out.'”
MT 18:8-9, MT 5:29-30, MK 9:43-48
“Everyone will be salted with fire in the same way that every sacrifice made at the Temple is salted. You are the salt of the earth. Salt is good, but if it loses its flavor how can you make it salty again? Then it is no longer good for anything, even the compost pile. The only thing you can do is throw it out for people to walk on. If you have salt among yourselves you will be at peace with one another.”
MK 9:49-50, MT 5:13, LK 14:34-35
Whoever is not against us is for us
Jesus’ disciple John said to him “Teacher, we stopped someone from driving out demons in your name because he isn’t one of us.”
Jesus said “Don’t stop him, because if anyone is doing miracles in my name he’ll soon support my message. Whoever is not against us is for us. Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Christ, I assure you he will be rewarded.
Anyone who welcomes you, welcomes me. Anyone who welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me. Anyone who welcomes the prophet because he speaks for God will receive the same award the prophet receives. Whoever welcomes a righteous person because of his righteousness will receive the reward of the righteous. Furthermore, whoever gives even a cup of cold water to a little child in the name of the disciple is blessed.”
LK 9:49-50, MK 9:38-41, MT 10:40-42
Restoring a brother
“If your brother sins against you, you should confront him about it in private. If he listens to you, you have won him back. But if he won’t listen to you, then take one or two other people with you to speak with him again, so that these witnesses may be able to establish the truth. If he still won’t listen, then tell the congregation. If he won’t listen even then, treat him as you would treat an unbeliever or a tax collector.
I’ll share this truth with you: whatever you unite on earth is united in heaven, and whatever you let go on earth is let go in heaven. Here’s another truth: if two of you agree about anything that you pray for then my Father in heaven will do it for you. Wherever two or three people gather together in my name, I am there with them.”
Forgive 70 times 7
Peter went up to Jesus and asked “Teacher, how many times should I forgive someone who sins against me? As many as seven times?”
“Listen to me closely,” Jesus said. “Don’t forgive him seven times, but seventy times seven! If he offends you seven times in one day, yet comes back to you seven times saying that he repents, you must forgive him.”
MT 18:22, LK 17:3-4
The parable of the unforgiving person
Jesus said “The kingdom of heaven is like the idea of the king who wants to balance his books. In the middle of that process, a person who owed him $10 million was brought before him. Since the man had no way of settling his debt, the king ordered that the man, his wife, their children and everything they owned be sold to pay off the account.
The man threw himself to the ground and said ‘Master, please give me a little more time and I will pay you everything!’ The king felt compassion for him so he forgave his debt and sent him on his way.
However, just after the man left the king he found a person who owed him $2000. He started choking him and demanded to be paid back immediately. That man threw himself to the ground and said ‘Please give me a little more time and I will pay you everything!’ But the man refused his request and instead had him thrown into prison until he could pay his debt in full. Other people saw what had happened and they went to the king and told him everything.
The king summoned the man who had owed him $10 million and said ‘You wicked man! I forgave everything that you owed me because you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you then have mercy on someone who owes you?’ Then the king had him thrown into jail until he could pay back every penny that he owed.
My Heavenly Father will treat you the same way if you refuse to truly forgive everyone who has harmed you.”
Do your duty
The apostles asked Jesus to show them how to increase their faith. He replied “Would any of you tell your servant to come and sit down to eat when he comes in from a hard day of plowing or tending the sheep? Wouldn’t a master say this instead: ‘Make something for me to eat and then wait on me. After I’m through you can have your supper.’ Do you think he is going to praise the servant for doing what he was commanded to do? Just like that, when you do everything you are commanded to do, you should say ‘We are merely lowly servants; we’re just doing our job.’”
The unbelief of Jesus’ brothers
Jesus traveled in Galilee from then on. He didn’t want to travel in Judea because the Jewish authorities were trying to find a way to have him killed. The Jewish festival of Sukkot was approaching.
Jesus’ brothers said “You should leave here and travel to Judea in order that your followers can see the miracles you are doing. Nobody does something privately if he is seeking public acclaim. If you are going to do these works, you should do them so everyone can see.” Not even his brothers believed in his message.
He said “My time isn’t here yet, but yours is always present. There is no reason for the world to hate you, but it hates me because I speak up about it and its evil acts. Go up to the festival by yourselves. I’m not going yet because it isn’t my time.”
He stayed in Galilee after he said this.