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Jesus Transfigured

(Chapter 17, verses 1-9)

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       (1) Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and James' brother John, and climbed this tall mountain. They were all alone. (2) Then, right before them, Jesus was trans­figured. Yes, his form was actually chang­ed ­before their very eyes! His face was as bright as the sun, and his clothes radiated dazzling light. (3) Suddenly, out of nowhere, Moses and Elijah showed up and started talking to him! (4) Peter reacted to the scene, saying: "Lord, it's so wonderful to be here. If you want, I'll do the work of pitching three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." (5) Before he could finish speaking, look at that! A phe­nomenally large, very bright cloud dwarfed them. Completely stunned, the three disciples discerned a voice coming from the cloud, saying: "This is my Son, the dear one that I've endorsed. Listen to him when he speaks." (6) At hearing these statements the disciples fell to the ground, trembling with fear, hiding their faces in the dirt as they did. (7) Then Jesus approached, touched them comfortingly, and said: "You can get up now. Don't be afraid." (8) When they raised their eyes from the ground Jesus was standing alone. (9) As they climbed down the lofty mountain Jesus gave them an order: "Don't tell anyone what you saw until the Son of man is resurrected from the dead."  

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John the Baptist

--Alias "Elijah"

(Chapter 17, verses 10-13)

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       (10) Curious about having seen Elijah in the vision, the disciples now asked him: "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" (11) Jesus answered: "They're partly right. Elijah is certainly coming, and will restore all things. (12) But, they don't have the whole story. ­Elijah has already come and gone, but they didn't recognize him.  Consequently, they mis­treated him. The same thing is going to happen to the Son of man. They won't recognize him and he, too, will suffer." (13) Then the disciples figured that he was talking about John the Baptist.

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Jesus Expels Demon

After Disciples' Failed Attempt

(Chapter 17, verses 14-21)

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       (14) And when they approached the crowd a man stepped forward and fell to his knees saying: (15) "Lord, please show compassion for my son because he's in an awful way. As an epileptic who's very ill, he often falls into the fire (nearly burning himself to death), or falls into the water (nearly drowning to death). (16) I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn't cure him." (17) Jesus answered by saying: "O you non-believing, twisted generation. Just how long do I have to deal with you? How long must I tolerate you? Bring me the boy." (18) After reproving the demon it left the boy, who was cured from that hour on. (19) When Jesus was alone the disciples asked him in private: "Why couldn't we expel it?" (20) He answered them bluntly: "Because of your microscopic faith. You know, truthfully, if you men have faith the size of a mustard grain, you will say to any mountain in your way, ‘Get out of my way and go somewhere else,' and the mountain will move. You could do anything you want. The word ‘impossible' wouldn't even be in your vocabulary." (21) --

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Jesus Again Predicts His Death;

Resolves IRS Tax Issue

(Chapter 17, verses 22-27)

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       (22) It was when they had convened in Galilee that Jesus again broke the news to them: "The Son of man is bound to be betrayed and subsequently turned over to the authorities, (23) who in turn will kill him, then on the third day he'll be raised from the dead." This really upset the disciples.

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       (24) After they reached Capernaum the IRS men collecting the two-drachma tax approached the disciples. They singled out Peter for a sarcastic question about Jesus: "Your teacher is just dying to pay his two-drachma tax just like everyone else is, isn't he?" (25) Peter said: "Of course he is." But when he came into the house he was unaware that Jesus knew about the tax question put to Peter. Therefore, Jesus asked a series of questions before Peter could say anything: "What's your opinion, Simon? Who is to pay taxes to earthly kings? Would it be their royal family members, or non-members making a living in the kingdom?" (26) When he said: "Non-family members," Jesus replied: "In reality, then, the royal family is tax-free. (27) But, so that nobody trips, go to the sea, cast a fishhook into it and grab the first fish you catch. When you open its mouth you're going to find a coin that'll cover our taxes. Take it and give it to the IRS government men to cover your tax and mine."

To Matthew Chapter 18