JANUARY 25 READING…Matthew 17
Our reading today begins with Jesus and three of His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. There is no mountain in Israel named “Transfiguration” …it’s not the place, it’s the event. There are at least a couple of places believed to be the mountain where this took place. This event fulfills Jesus’ statement at the end of yesterday’s reading where He says, “that some of you here will not will not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” On this mountain we have the Divine declaration that Jesus has come into His kingdom. Jesus and His disciples were there and suddenly Moses and Elijah appear there with Jesus. Think about who these two men were in the Old Testament and to the Jewish mindset. Moses represents the law…Elijah represents the prophets, both appear there with Jesus. Why? Because all the law is fulfilled in Jesus, and every prophetic message in the Old Testament is about Jesus. When Peter wanted to have Moses and Elijah remain there, God took them away and said, “This (Jesus) is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Hear Him!” God declares there that Jesus is It…He is everything…He is all that is needed. Everything and everyone who came before Him to this earth was to declare Him…they were there to point to Him. Heaven itself declares who Jesus is…to reject the Person and work of Jesus is to reject God’s testimony…and to do so puts one in great peril.
Our reading today also reveals that there are different kinds of demons. The Bible makes it clear that there are “rankings” in the demonic realm. Paul calls them “principalities and powers”. The Old Testament in several places speaks of some demons as “princes” of different places. Jesus’ disciples had confronted a demon that they could not cast out…Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith, and instructed them on how to deal with this particular type of demon. Once again, Jesus spoke words to His disciples of His impending sacrifice and death…but this time He encourages them with a prophecy of His Resurrection. Jesus and His disciples entered Capernaum and were confronted by the religious tax collectors (these were different from the Roman tax collectors), they were seeking taxes for the running of the temple. Jesus said that the authorities do not collect taxes from their own family, but from strangers…revealing that these religious tax collectors were not truly men of God. But, Jesus had Peter go and catch a fish, and said that the first one he catches would have money in its mouth to pay the temple tax. Money is no big thing to God…remember, He owns the “cattle on a thousand hills”. Also notice that in that day, much like today, paying tax is not so much for the authorities and their families…for they are “insiders” …it for the strangers to their authority that they rob with their taxes.
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading.
TOMORROW'S READING…Matthew 18