What does Matthew 17:17 mean?
ESV: And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.”
NIV: You unbelieving and perverse generation,' Jesus replied, 'how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.'
NASB: And Jesus answered and said, 'You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.'
CSB: Jesus replied, "You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me."
NLT: Jesus said, 'You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.'
KJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
While Jesus was away on the mountain with Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1–13), a desperate father brought his demon-afflicted son to Jesus' remaining nine disciples (Matthew 10:1–4). The demon has caused the boy to be mute and experience epileptic-style seizures. Partly proving that this is not simple epilepsy is how often the boy is thrown "into fire and into water, to destroy him" (Mark 9:22).

The disciples attempted to cast the demon from the boy, but they were unable. This provoked an argument with some Jewish scribes, perhaps about whether the disciples had the authority to cast out demons. This was something most scribes did not even claim for themselves. Though the disciples were not rabbis or official Jewish leaders, they did have the authority to cast out demons. Jesus had specifically given them the power to represent Him in this specific way (Matthew 10:8).

Jesus sounds exasperated both with His disciples and His people. He lumps them in together as a "faithless and twisted" generation. Mark's account of this story shows that the faith of the father is also an issue in this healing (Mark 9:22–24). His comments here are the first suggestion we see in Matthew's writing of Jesus growing weary of His time among humanity. When Jesus expresses this kind of frustration, the issue is nearly always the same: unbelief. Specifically, the people of "this generation" have failed to believe in Him as the Messiah and in His authority and power as the Son of God.

Jesus asks the father to bring his demon-afflicted son to Him.
Verse Context:
Matthew 17:14–21 finds Jesus and three of the disciples returning from the mountain, to find a crowd gathered around the remaining nine. A desperate father pleads on behalf of his demon-afflicted son who has seizures and often falls into water or fire. The disciples could not cast the demon out (Mark 9:14–29). Jesus, exasperated by the doubt of His disciples, rebukes the demon and heals the boy. When they ask, Jesus tells the disciples their faith was too small to cast out the demon. Even faith as small as a mustard seed is enough to move a mountain. Verse 21 nearly duplicates Mark 9:29 but is not found in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew.
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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