A Series Rebukes by Christ (Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-43a). On their return from
the mountain, a large crowd came around them. A man came up to Him, falling on his knees, beseeched
the Lord to have mercy on his only son, who was demon-possessed. The disciples tried, but could not
cure him. This brings the first of a series of rebukes by Christ. He rebukes the unbelieving generation in
which He lives, a father, an evil spirit, and His disciples. “O unbelieving and perverted generation, how
long shall I be with you and put up with you?” Jesus told the disciples when they were alone why they
could not cast out the demon, saying, “You have so little faith.” “This kind can come out only by
prayer.” The lesson was designed to show that their ministry in the future days must be carried on in
dependence of God and faith in Him.
The Second Prediction of Christ’s Death and Resurrection (Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 9:30-32; Luke
9:43b-45). Jesus left the region of Caesarea Philippi and returned to Galilee. He sought to go quietly
back to Capernaum. Christ had been speaking about the Kingdom and the transfiguration had caused the
disciples to focus on the glory, instead of the suffering. So Jesus repeats the prediction concerning His
death and resurrection. The disciples were confused, but afraid to ask Him about this statement. Like the
blind man, who required two touches of Jesus, they are still not seeing clearly.
Instruction Concerning Sonship (Matthew 17:24-27). Shortly after Jesus and His disciples arrived in
Capernaum, Peter received a visit from the collectors of the temple tax to provide for sacrificial animals.
It was an annual and voluntary tax paid by Israelites over twenty years of age. They asked, “Doesn’t your
teacher pay the temple tax?” Since Christ was recognized by many as a Rabbi, it was questionable
whether He would have been compelled to pay the tax. Jesus explained that kings don’t collect taxes
from their own sons (that is, their own citizens) but rather from others (that is, those whom they have
conquered). The conclusion was that the sons or citizens were exempt from taxation. Christ inference
was that since this taxation was to support the temple, which was His Father’s house, He and those
associated with Him should not have to pay taxes to support it. It should be supported by those who came
to it to receive benefits from it. To prevent being accused of not paying taxes, He commands Peter to cast
a fishing-line into the lake and take a coin sufficient to pay a tax for two from its mouth.