What does Matthew 17:1 mean?
ESV: And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
NIV: After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
NASB: Six days later, Jesus *took with Him Peter and James, and his brother John, and *led them up on a high mountain by themselves.
CSB: After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.
NLT: Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone.
KJV: And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
Verse Commentary:
In the previous verse, the end of chapter 16, Matthew reported Jesus' prediction: that some of those present with Him would not die before seeing Jesus coming in His kingdom. Most commentators believe that the transfiguration of Jesus described in this passage is the fulfillment of that prediction. The event depicted here took place six days after Jesus said those words. Mark's telling of this story also mentions the six-day gap (Mark 9:2). Luke describes it using a Greek expression that means "about a week later."

Some scholars believe the six-day interval to be significant and symbolic, perhaps connected to the length of time the glory of God rested on Mount Sinai when God spoke to Moses from a cloud in Exodus 24:16. The six days may also have included some travel time to this location. Jesus and the disciples had been in the district of Caesarea Philippi, 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 16:13).

Most of the locations referred to as "mounts" or "mountains" in the Bible are what some cultures would call "tall hills." Jesus was not in the habit of rock-climbing when He taught (Matthew 5:1). However, some locations around Jerusalem are "mountains" according to almost any definition. Scholars offer several options for where this might have taken place on. A common suggestion is Mount Hermon, since Caesarea Philippi sits at its base. That peak of that mountain range is more than 2,800 meters, or 9,000 feet, above sea level. Another option is Mount Miron, less than half that height, between Caesarea Philippi and Capernaum, where the group next arrives (Matthew 17:24).

Whatever the location, Jesus selects only three of the disciples to climb this "high mountain" with Him. Peter, James, and John were Jesus' inner circle of disciples within the larger group of the Twelve (Matthew 10:1–4).
Verse Context:
Matthew 17:1–13 follows Jesus' prediction that some of the disciples won't die before seeing Him coming in His kingdom (Matthew 16:28). Peter, James, and John see Jesus transfigured—radiating the glory of God––while talking with Moses and Elijah. Peter blunders in his attempt to contribute to the moment. The voice of God the Father identifies Jesus as His Son and commands the disciples to listen to Him. Jesus tells the three not to tell anyone else what they've seen until after He is raised from the dead. He answers their question about a prophecy involving Elijah.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on a high mountain. There, they see Him "transfigured" into a shining, divine form. They also see Christ speaking with Moses and Elijah but are commanded not to speak of this event until later. Jesus heals a demon-afflicted boy after the disciples cannot cast the demon out. Jesus very clearly tells the disciples He will be delivered into the hands of men, killed, and raised on the third day. After explaining why He is exempt from a temple tax, Jesus agrees to pay it and tells Peter to find the money in the mouth of a fish.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 17 begins with the fulfillment of Jesus' prediction at the end of the previous chapter: that some of those present would not die before seeing Him coming in His kingdom. Jesus casts out a demon, predicts His death, and commands Peter to pay a temple tax with a coin from the mouth of a fish. This leads Matthew back to extensive records of Jesus' teachings, continuing through chapter 20.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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