What does Matthew 17:10 mean?
ESV: And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?”
NIV: The disciples asked him, 'Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?'
NASB: And His disciples asked Him, 'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?'
CSB: So the disciples asked him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? "
NLT: Then his disciples asked him, 'Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes? '
KJV: And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Verse Commentary:
Peter, James, and John are trying to figure out how what they have just witnessed on the mountain fits with what Jesus has said about rising from the dead.

On the one hand, they have just seen with their own eyes Elijah, from heaven, standing on the earth and talking to Jesus. If that was the return of Elijah, though, wasn't he supposed to come before the Messiah? Jesus, who they now understood to be the Messiah, had already come. They ask Jesus why the scribes say that Elijah must come first before the Messiah.

Jesus will confirm that the scribes' insistence that Elijah must come first was right. It was based on the prophecy found in Malachi 4:5–6: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes."
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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