Matthew 17:10-21

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

JESUS’ EXPLANATION OF ELIJAH’S COMING

FIRST AND JESUS’ CASTING OUT A DEMON

WHICH THE DISCIPLES COULD NOT CAST OUT

INTRODUCTION:

 

The Destiny of the King includes the narrative about Jesus (13:54 - 17:27), the meaning and greatness of forgiveness (18:1-35), and the concluding statement, (1) And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan. (2) And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there (19:1-2).

 

In chapter 17 the narrative about Jesus includes His transfiguration (17:1-9), His explanation of Elijah’s coming first (17:10-13), His casting out a demon which the disciples could not cast out (17:14-21), His prediction of His death and resurrection (17:22-23), and His answer regarding the tribute money (17:24-27).

We see –

    I.     JESUS’ EXPLANATION OF ELIJAH’S COMING FIRST – 17:10-13

 

We note that –

            A.  JESUS’ DISCIPLES WERE AWARE THAT THE SCRIBES WERE TEACHING THAT ELIJAH MUST COME BACK BEFORE THE MESSIAH COMES – 17:10

 

Matthew 17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

 

Jesus had told His disciples that some of them would not taste of death until they saw Jesus coming in His kingdom (16:28). At the transfiguration Peter, James, and John had just seen a glimpse of Christ coming in His kingdom. They were aware that the scribes were teaching that Elijah must come back before the Messiah comes. They were confused; so, they asked Jesus about it.

 

And his disciples refers to Jesus’ disciples.

 

Asked him indicates that they directed their question to Jesus. Their question is introduced by the word saying.

 

Why then say the scribes that Elias [i.e. Elijah] must first come?

 

Then suggests therefore, accordingly, consequently, or so.

 

Why . . . say the scribes? is why are the scribes saying? and indicates something that these experts in the law were teaching.

 

That Elias must first come is that it is necessary that Elijah come first, meaning that Elijah must come before the Messiah comes.

 

Why would the scribes be saying this at this time? They did not believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah. In order to justify their unbelief, might the scribes have been saying that Jesus cannot possibly be the Messiah because Elijah had not come before Jesus came?

 

We also note –

            B.  JESUS’ ACKNOWLEDGMENT THAT THIS PART OF WHAT THE SCRIBES WERE TEACHING WAS CORRECT – 17:11

 

Matthew 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

 

And Jesus answered and said unto them suggests and Jesus told them (i.e. told His disciples).

 

Elias is Elijah.

 

Truly is a term which sets up a contrast between what Jesus says in verse 11 and what He will say in verse 12 which is introduced by but. Truly suggests on the one hand; whereas, but in the next verse suggests but, on the other hand.

 

Shall first come, and restore all things is comes first and will restore (or re-establish) all things.

 

The reference is to Malachi 4:5-6 .

 

Malachi 4:5-65 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

 

Next, we note –

            C.  JESUS’ STATEMENT THAT ELIJAH HAD ALREADY COME BUT HAD NOT BEEN RECOGNIZED; RATHER, HE HAD BEEN MISTREATED JUST AS JESUS WILL BE MISTREATED – 17:12

 

Matthew 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

 

But introduces a contrast with verse 11 and is understood in the sense of but on the other hand.

 

I say unto you is I (Jesus) am saying to you (disciples).

 

What Jesus is saying to His disciples takes up the rest of this verse.

 

Elias is come already is Elijah already came, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

And they knew him not means that the Jews (as a whole, particularly the leadership including the scribes) did not recognize (or acknowledge) him (i.e. they did not recognize Elijah).

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to Elias is come already and they knew him not.

 

It is they have done unto him whatsoever they listed.

 

It is they did to him what things they wished (i.e. what things they desired {or wanted} to do).

 

Likewise . . . also is in this manner also, thus also, or so also.

 

Shall . . . the Son of man suffer of them is the Son of man (i.e. Jesus) is about to (or is destined to) suffer by them.

 

Suffer suggests suffer death or be killed; and of them, where them refers to the Jews, suggests at their hands.

 

It is another prediction of Christ’s suffering and death.

 

In addition, we note –

            D.  THE DISCIPLES’ REALIZATION THAT JESUS WAS REFERRING TO JOHN THE BAPTIST AS THE ELIJAH WHO WOULD COME – 17:13

 

Matthew 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

 

Then suggests thereupon.

 

The disciples understood is the disciples comprehended.

 

What they understood is that he (i.e. Jesus) spake unto them of John the Baptist, which suggests that He spoke to them about (or concerning) John the Baptist.

We also see –

  II.     JESUS’ CASTING OUT OF A DEMON WHICH THE DISCIPLES COULD NOT CAST OUT – 17:14-21

 

We note –

            A.  A MAN KNEELING BEFORE JESUS REQUESTS HELP FOR HIS SON WHO WAS AN EPILEPTIC WHO OFTEN FELL INTO FIRE OR WATER – 17:14-15

 

Matthew 17:14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying.

 

And when they were come to the multitude is literally and they having come to the crowd in the sense of and after they had come to the crowd.

 

They refers to Jesus and His disciples.

 

There came to him a certain man is, A man came to Him (or approached Him).

 

This man was kneeling down to him (i.e. to Jesus), which means that this man had fallen down on his knees before Jesus.

 

Kneeling down and saying indicate two facts in addition to came in the sense of and he was kneeling down to Him and saying.

 

What he was saying is recorded in verses 15-16.

 

Matthew 17:15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

 

The man addresses Jesus as Lord.

 

This, coupled with the fact that this man had come to Jesus on behalf of his son, implies his submission to Jesus and belief that Jesus could cure his son.

 

Have mercy on my son suggests pity my son or have compassion on my son.

 

It is not known how old this son was although the term for child in verse 18 indicates that he was a boy or a youth.

 

For is the word ordinarily translated because and is understood in this sense in this verse.

 

He is lunatick means he is an epileptic.

 

That his epilepsy was caused by demon possession is evident from the fact that when a demon was cast out, the boy was healed from his epilepsy in verse 18.

 

And sore vexed means and suffers badly (or suffers severely).

 

Another for introduces the cause of the boy’s suffering: ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

 

Ofttimes is many times, often, or frequently.

 

He falleth into the fire is he (i.e. the man’s child) falls (i.e. falls down or falls down violently) into the fire.

 

Oft is the same word translated ofttimes, and into the water means that he falls into the water.

 

We also note that –

            B.  ALTHOUGH THIS EPILEPTIC SON HAD BEEN BROUGHT TO JESUS’ DISCIPLES, THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO CURE HIM – 17:16

 

Matthew 17:16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

 

And I brought him to thy disciples means that this man had brought his son to Jesus’ disciples.

 

And they could not cure him means and (or but) they (i.e. Jesus’ disciples) were not able to heal him (i.e. to heal the man’s son).

 

Next, we note that –

            C.   AFTER REBUKING HIS DISCIPLES AND THE CROWD, JESUS TOLD THEM TO BRING THE EPILEPTIC SON TO HIM – 17:17

 

Matthew 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

 

Then Jesus answered and said suggests then Jesus declared or then Jesus asserted.

 

What Jesus said is found in the remainder of this verse.

 

O faithless and perverse generation is, Oh unbelieving and perverted generation.

 

Generation speaks of the sum total of people living at that time and includes the disciples who did not have faith to heal the epileptic at that time.

 

How long shall I be with you? is literally, Until when will I (i.e. Jesus) be with you (i.e. be with this faithless and perverse generation)?

 

How long, i.e. until when?, is repeated.

 

Shall I suffer you? is will I endure (i.e. bear with or put up with) you?

 

You is plural; so it is not limited to the father of the child but instead refers to the crowd including the disciples.

 

Bring him hither to me, where bring is also plural, means bring him (i.e. bring the child) here to Me (i.e. to Jesus). Since bring is plural, it indicates that this is stated to the people in the crowd and to the disciples; but it is not stated only to the father.

 

In addition, we note that –

            D.  JESUS CAST OUT THE DEMON AND THE CHILD WAS INSTANTLY CURED – 17:18

 

Matthew 17:18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

 

It turns out that the epilepsy was the result of demon possession.

 

And Jesus rebuked the devil is and Jesus rebuked him, which refers to the demon.

 

And he departed out of him is and the demon went out (or came out) from him (i.e. from the child).

 

And the child was cured from that very hour.

 

The child is the man’s son and means the boy or the youth.

 

Was cured is was healed. It indicates that the youth was no longer an epileptic.

 

From that hour implies from that time on or at once. The healing was instantaneous and lasting.

 

We note moreover that –

            E.        LATER, WHEN THEY WERE ALONE WITH JESUS, THE DISCIPLES ASKED HIM WHY THEY HAD BEEN UNABLE TO CAST OUT THIS DEMON – 17:19

 

Matthew 17:19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

 

Then came the disciples to Jesus is understood in the sense of thereupon, after the disciples came to Jesus or thereupon, after the disciples approached Jesus.

 

Apart is privately or by Himself. No one other than Jesus and His disciples was present.

 

Inasmuch as a question follows said, it suggests asked.

 

Why could not we cast him out?

 

Why? suggests because of (or on account of) what (reason)?

 

Could not we cast him out is were we not able to cast him (i.e. the demon) out.

 

We, which refers to the disciples, is emphatic.

 

We note furthermore that –

            F.  JESUS ANSWERED HIS DISCIPLES THAT THE PROBLEM WAS THEIR UNBELIEF – 17:20

 

Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

 

And Jesus said unto them is and (or then) Jesus said to them (i.e. to His disciples).

 

Because of your unbelief suggests (You disciples could not cast the demon out) because of your unbelief (or because of your lack of belief). It is not because they did not have enough faith; it is because they did not have any faith.

 

For verily I say unto you is for truly I (Jesus) am saying to you (disciples).

 

Jesus then makes a conditional statement.

 

The condition is if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed. If it is true, the conclusion will follow.

 

If it is not true, the conclusion will not follow.

 

The conclusion is ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove.

 

If ye have faith suggests if you (disciples) have faith (i.e. belief or trust).

 

As a grain of mustard seed is as a mustard seed or as a seed of a mustard plant, which was viewed as a very small seed.

 

It means that if you only have a very little faith.

 

Ye shall say unto this mountain is you (disciples) will say to this mountain; and what they will say is, Remove hence to yonder place.

 

Remove implies transfer from one place to another in the sense of go or pass over.

 

Hence is from here, and to yonder place is to there.

 

As a result, it (i.e. the mountain) shall remove (i.e. will go or will pass over {from here to there}).

 

It is an example of stating something hyperbolically (i.e. of stating something in an exaggerated way) in order to make an impression on the hearer or reader.

 

It means that nothing shall be impossible unto you.

 

The thought is that there will be no limit beyond which the disciples cannot go as long as it consistent with the will of God.

 

God is the God of the impossible.

 

Finally, we note that –

            G. JESUS THEN ADVISED HIS DISCIPLES THAT THIS KIND OF DEMON CANNOT BE CAST OUT EXCEPT BY PRAYER AND FASTING – 17:21

 

Matthew 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

 

As translated, howbeit introduces a statement in mild contrast to Jesus’ statement in verse 20 in the sense of but.

 

It might instead transition from the thought of verse 20 in the sense of and or now.

 

In either case it indicates that the casting out of this demon must be preceded by prayer and fasting.

 

This kind implies this kind of demon which caused the epilepsy in the child.

 

Goeth not out but by prayer and fasting is does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

 

Prayer implies calling on God and depending on Him to accomplish the desired end.

 

Fasting involved with prayer suggests that the individual doing the praying is so consumed with the praying that he either does not bother to eat or forgets to eat.

CONCLUSION:

 

Let me ask you a question. Are you on your way to heaven? I can help you answer this question if you are interested. Please give me a chance.

 

Jesus said in John 14:6 , I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.

 

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

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