The Transfiguration: “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus” (vv. 1-3). The transfiguration was: (1) a revelation of the glory of the Son of God, a glory hidden now but to be fully revealed when he returns; (2) a confirmation of the difficult teaching given to the disciples at Caesarea Philippi (16:13-20); and (3) a beneficial experience for the disciples, who were discouraged after having been reminded so recently of Jesus’ impending suffering and death (16:21). “He was transfigured,” thus, the three disciples saw Jesus in his glorified state (see John 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17).
Jesus Healed a Demon-Possessed: “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him” (vv. 14-16). Jesus was upset that the disciples could not heal the demon-possessed boy. Jesus replied, “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me. Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment” (vv. 17-18).
The disciples then came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (vv. 19-21). Faith as small as a mustard seed: The mustard seed is not the smallest seed known today, but it was the smallest seed used by Palestinian farmers and gardeners. In the time of Jesus. Therefore, a small amount of faith in God can and will bring forth great miracles.
Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time (Matt. 17:22): “When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief” (vv. 22-23). The first-time Jesus predicted his death was in Matthew 16:21.
Of first importance is the way this announcement of Jesus’ coming passion and death are tied so closely to Peter’s confession and in turn to what it means to follow as a disciple of this Messiah.
Peter did not want Jesus to die, but Jesus would say to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matt. 16:23). Jesus would then say to his disciples: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matt. 16: 25)