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Matthew 17:14-27 Faith and Taxes

Yeshua instructed His disciples not to tell anyone about the vision they had witnessed during His transfiguration until after His resurrection. The disciples discussed the resurrection as they descended the mount of the transfiguration and immediately became engaged in a tense interaction with a man, his son, and the disciples who remained at the foot of the mountain. 

The disciples were frustrated because they were unable to cast out an unclean spirit. Yeshua informed them on how to overcome their failure, taught them an object lesson on faith, and transitioned His attention to the Temple Tax.

In this Teaching, we will address decades’ old false teachings and misinformation that have disempowered followers of Messiah, sent them down the path of unscriptural deliverance ministries, and much more.

Amongst believers, unbelief is the silent killer of faith.

Many believers are rendered powerless because of unbelief, or they do not believe they have the power Yeshua said they should have.

Yeshua said that they that believed in Him, the works He did they shall do, and greater works shall they do …

Jn 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

The story we are about to study is found in Matthew 17:14-21, Mark 9:14-28, and  Luke 9:37-42. 

Mt 17:14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 

Mark records there was an argument taking place between the scribes and the disciples.

Mk 9:14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. 

Mk 9:15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. 

Mk 9:16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? 

The father called the spirit affecting his son a dumb spirit.

Mk 9:17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;


Mt 17:15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. 

Lunatic – 4583 σεληνιάζομαι seleniazomai {sel-ay-nee-ad'-zom-ahee} 

Meaning:  1) to be moon-struck or lunatic 2) to be epileptic 2a) epilepsy being supposed to return and increase with the increase of the moon. This meaning is doubtful as the Greeks knew nothing of epilepsy. 

Usage:  AV - be lunatick 2; 

Mt 17:16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 

The disciples, the man brought his son to, were the 9 disciples left behind when Yeshua, Peter, James, and John were up on the mountain.

Yeshua’s response to the statement of the man who said, “Mt 17:16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.”:

Mt 17:17 Then Yeshua 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. 


Faithless – 571 ἄπιστος apistos {ap'-is-tos} 

Meaning:  1) unfaithful, faithless, (not to be trusted, perfidious) 2) incredible 2a) of things 3) unbelieving, incredulous 3a) without trust (in God) 

Usage:  AV - that believe not 6, unbelieving 5, faithless 4, unbeliever 4, infidel 2, thing incredible 1, which believe not 1; 23

Perverse – 1294 διαστρέφω diastrepho {dee-as-tref'-o} 

Meaning:  1) to distort, turn aside 1a) to oppose, plot against the saving purposes and plans of God 2) to turn aside from the right path, to pervert, corrupt 

Usage:  AV - perverse 4, pervert 2, turn away 1; 7

Mt 17:18 And Yeshua rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 

Devil – 1140 δαιμόνιον daimonion {dahee-mon'-ee-on} 

Meaning:  1) the divine power, deity, divinity 2) a spirit, a being inferior to God, superior to men 3) evil spirits or the messengers and ministers of the devil 

Usage:  AV - devil 59, god 1; 60

Mark records Yeshua calling the spirit a deaf and dumb spirit.

Mk 9:25 When Yeshua saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

Luke records Yeshua calling the spirit an unclean spirit.

Lk 9:42 And as he was yet a-coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Yeshua rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.

The question and context: “Why could not we cast him out?” 

Mt 17:19 Then came the (9) disciples to Yeshua apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 

The answer to the question: 

Because of your unbelief.

Mt 17:20 And Yeshua said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 

Unbelief – 570 ἀπιστία apistia {ap-is-tee'-ah} 

Meaning:  1) unfaithfulness, faithless 2) want of faith, unbelief 3) weakness of faith 

Usage:  AV - unbelief 12; 12


Faith – 4102 πίστις pistis {pis'-tis} 

Meaning:  1) conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it 1a) relating to God 

Usage:  AV - faith 239, assurance 1, believe + 1537 1, belief 1, them that believe 1, fidelity 1; 244

Mt 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. 

Matthew 17:21 is missing in several versions of the Bible

  • New International Version

  • New Living Translation

  • New Revised Standard Version

  • Complete Jewish Bible (footnote: Some manuscripts include verse 21)

  • Other versions have the verse in Brackets [ ].

New American Standard Bible

Still others that carry the verse indicate it was not in the original MSS or that it was added or simply has verse 21 in italics meaning it was added and not in the original MSS.

Keep in mind that Yeshua had given them power against unclean spirits to cast them out.

Mt 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Unbelief – 570 ἀπιστία apistia {ap-is-tee'-ah} 

Meaning:  1) unfaithfulness, faithless 2) want of faith, unbelief 3) weakness of faith 

Usage:  AV - unbelief 12; 12

There are times when your faith is strong, at other times your faith may be weak.

The lesson Peter learned and taught:

2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Yeshua our Lord, 

2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 

2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 

2Pe 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 

2Pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 

2Pe 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua Messiah. 

2Pe 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 

2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Mt 17:22 And while they abode in Galilee, Yeshua said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 

Mt 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry. 

The word tribute is used in this passage 3 times. 2 times is under the guise of the temple tax, but the question Yeshua poses indicates it was a different tax. Also note where they are when the question was posed. They were in Galilee (vs 22), specifically Capernaum (vs 24), a long way from the Temple.

Mt 17:24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 


Tribute – 1323 δίδραχμον didrachmon {did'-rakh-mon} 

Meaning:  1) a didrachmon or double drachma, a silver coin equal to two Attic drachmas or one Alexandrian, or one half a shekel 

Usage:  AV - tribute 1, tribute money 1; 2

Tabernacle or Temple Tax as it was called, but the Torah states it as atonement money (not a tithe), was to be used to service the Tabernacle according to Exodus 30:13-16.

Ex 30:13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. 

Ex 30:14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. 

Ex 30:15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. 

Ex 30:16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.

Mt 17:25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Yeshua prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 


Custom – 5056 τέλος telos {tel'-os} 

Meaning:  1) end 1a) termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time) 1b) the end 1b1) the last in any succession or series 1b2) eternal 1c) that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue 1d) the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose 2) toll, custom (i.e. indirect tax on goods) 

Usage:  AV - end 35, custom 3, uttermost 1, finally 1, ending 1, by (one's) continual + 1519 1; 42

Tribute – 2778 κῆνσος kensos {kane'-sos} 

Meaning:  1) census (among the Romans, denoting a register and valuation of property in accordance with which taxes were paid), in the NT the tax or tribute levied on individuals and to be paid yearly. (our capitation or poll tax) 2) the coin with which the tax is paid, tribute money 

Origin:  of Latin origin;; n m

Usage:  AV - tribute 4; 4

The tribute Yeshua spoke of was the money levied by the Roman emperor Caesar on the Hebrews, not the Tabernacle dues YeHoVaH required in the Torah. 

Mt 17:26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Yeshua saith unto him, Then are the children free. 

Mt 17:27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Last Updated on September 7, 2021 by Arthur Bailey Ministries

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