What does Matthew 17:8 mean?
ESV: And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
NIV: When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
NASB: And raising their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.
CSB: When they looked up they saw no one except Jesus alone.
NLT: And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.
KJV: And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
We're not told how long the transfiguration of Jesus lasted. Was it five minutes or five hours? After being addressed by the voice of God from a bright cloud, the three disciples fell on their faces in terror. By the time Jesus told them to rise, everything has returned to normal. Only Jesus remains and He has returned to His fully human appearance as the Son of Man (Matthew 17:1–7).
Still, Peter, James, and John know what they saw. They never forgot the image of Jesus radiating the glory of heaven, clothed in dazzling white with His face shining like the sun as He spoke with the long-dead Moses and Elijah. They certainly never forgot the voice of God the Father declaring that Jesus is His beloved Son and commanding them to listen to Him.
As convincing as the experience was, the following chapters will show that their faith in Jesus still had plenty of room to grow. They still did not understand what Jesus must do next.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Accessed 3/1/2024 11:03:27 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.