Thought to Guide Your ReadingJesus receives confirmation of His Authority.
Summary in 100 Words or LessJesus received confirmation of His Authority before Peter, James, and John. He later cleared confusion around John the Baptizer's role as the second Elijah.
His Apostles lacked sufficient faith to excise a certain demon.
Jesus predicted His betrayal.
He paid the Temple Tax.
The Apostles argued over rank. Jesus taught them that a childlike servant is the pinnacle.
Jesus reminded them that all things done in His Name were acceptable regardless of the source. Harassment of a young believer would be punished.
Jesus set course for Jerusalem. He stopped the Apostles from harming some unaccommodating Samaritans.
Following Jesus required sacrifice.
How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right
Jesus prepares for His betrayal and death.He started by telling the Apostles He would suffer and die. In today's reading, He showed the three closest Apostles (Peter, James, and John) confirmation of His Authority. He was shown with Moses, the author of the Law, and Elijah, the second-greatest prophet (to Moses). When Peter offered to build three memorials, God interjected—not anymore; listen to Jesus. Aside from the lapse of judgment each of them had at the crucifixion, this experience would keep their faith strong for the duration of their lives.
The Apostles could not excise the demon because they lacked faith.The Apostles could not expel the child's demon. When they asked Jesus He gave a cryptic response, "Because you're not yet taking God seriously" (Matthew 17:20, The Message, emphasis original). I'm not sure what all that means, but we can be certain of one thing—Sometimes the only way to set things right is through fasting, prayer, and trust in God.
Those who wish to be the greatest should serve others.Jesus provides a leadership paradox. If you think about it, managers in offices do not get things done. People on the ground get things done. So any discussion over who is the most important or greatest has to take that into account. Those who serve as small children are the greatest.
Anyone who does something in Jesus' Name (unless it is self-serving) is acceptable to God.A few days ago we read where Jesus stated those who are not for Him were against Him. Today He elaborates on that a little more—those who set things right, no matter who they are, are blessed for it. I believe this is connected to the next section about bullying childlike believers. Those who disqualify young believers because they are not part of "their" group can cause them to become cynical and abandon any form of community.
This saying is difficult for Christians today. We love our exclusive claim to setting all things right. We want to think of the world in a simple duality: saved (those in the church) and completely and utterly depraved (those in the world). We cannot accept anyone not part of our group setting things right. Inclusion in God's Chosen People is not a prerequisite for setting things right.
Jesus valued peace over principle when it was necessary.Once again, Jesus foregoes freedom for the sake of peace. The first time He told the man He healed to stop carrying his bed. In this reading, Jesus pays the Temple Tax even though He was the one it was built for. The reason was for peace, to not give them a reason to complain. When dealing with unreasonable people, sometimes it is better to sacrifice principle to preserve peace.
What do you do in the Name of Jesus?
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