Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992.
“Matthew 17” pp. 436-455.
The Transfiguration of Matthew 17 is found in all the Synoptic Gospels, but not in John (Morris 1992, 436). Though some scholars see this as a resurrection story, Morris rejects that idea (Morris 1992, 437). The time frame is very specific in the accounts, and they do not indicate a post-resurrection setting. Moses and Elijah appeared, speaking with Jesus. Morris considers this to indicate the Law and Prophets represented by Moses and Elijah (Morris 1992, 439). When Peter suggested building shelters (Morris finds no good reason) he is interrupted by divine light and a voice telling him to listen to Jesus (Morris 1992, 440). Jesus comforts the disciples and tells them not to speak of the event until the resurrection (Morris 1992, 442). The disciples’ question about Elijah may question Jesus’ coming death, since Elijah would be a restorer (Morris 1992, 442). Jesus considers Elijah’s work to be done (Morris 1992, 443).
In verses 14-20 Jesus returns to his other disciples and finds disorder, as a crowd is assembled. A father has brought his child to the disciples, who are unable to heal him (Morris 1992, 445). Jesus heals the boy and points out his disciples’ lack of faith. Morris points to some vague language suggesting confusion over whether the boy was seen as ill or demon-possessed (Morris 1992, 446). Morris suggests that the disciples may have considered themselves able to heal the boy, but that God is the source of healing (Morris 1992, 448). With God’s desire anything can be done (Morris 1992, 449).
Jesus again predicts his death in 17:22-23. Here it seems Jesus initiated the conversation, but aside from a response of sadness Matthew tells us nothing (Morris 1992, 450). Morris observe that the use of the passive voice generally indicates God as the actor, in this case, the one delivering Jesus to men.
In 17:24-27,a narrative unique to Matthew, Jesus shows he does not consider himself bound to pay a temple tax but that on earth he generally submits to regulations (Morris 1992, 451). The tax was a small yearly amount to care for the temple (Morris 1992, 452). Morris points out Jesus’ careful distinctions in his words, showing that the members of the royal household are exempt from royal taxes (Morris 1992, 453). Jesus’ concern seems to be for the tax collectors, resulting in his paying the taxe (Morris 1992, 454).