When they approached the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, kneeling before Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic (moonstruck) and suffers terribly; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to Your disciples, and they were not able to heal him.” And Jesus answered, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed at once.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked, “Why could we not drive it out?” He answered, “Because of your little faith [your lack of trust and confidence in the power of God]; for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, [a]if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and [if it is God’s will] it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. [b][But this kind of demon does not go out except by prayer and fasting.]”
When they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed and handed over to men [who are His enemies]; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised [from death to life] on the third day.” And they were deeply grieved and distressed.
The Tribute Money
When they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the [c]half-shekel [temple tax] went up to Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the half-shekel?” Peter answered, “Yes.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly rulers collect duties or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt [from taxation]. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take it and give it to them [to pay the temple tax] for you and Me.”
- Matthew 17:20 Jesus used this moment to emphasize to the disciples that a person’s confident, abiding faith combined with God’s power can produce absolutely amazing results, if the request is in harmony with God’s will. God is fully capable of doing that which man regards as impossible (Mark 14:36; James 4:3).
- Matthew 17:21 Early mss do not contain this verse.
- Matthew 17:24 Equivalent to two denarii or two days’ wages.
Rank in the Kingdom
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and set him before them, and said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever [a]humbles himself like this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives and welcomes one [b]child like this in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin [by leading him away from My teaching], it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone [as large as one turned by a donkey] hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
“Woe (judgment is coming) to the world because of stumbling blocks and temptations to sin! It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to the person on whose account or through whom the stumbling block comes!
“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off and throw it away from you [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into everlasting fire. If your eye causes you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; it is better for you to enter life with only one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fiery hell.
- Matthew 18:4 I.e. turns his back on self-righteous pride and adopts a realistic self-view.
- Matthew 18:5 I.e. new, childlike believer.