December 12, 2021 – Matthew 17 – 18

Lesson Date: December 12, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Matthew 17:1-9, 22-23; 18:15-17; 21-35

AIM: To lead students to describe some of the changes that should take place in our lives when we see Jesus for who He really is, and to examine themselves to determine if they have ever truly seen Jesus for who He is.


Before class: Read the notes on Matthew 17 – 18 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the words “Mistaken Identity” on the marker board or chalkboard.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask everyone to turn to Matthew 16:15.  Remind them that we studied that chapter last Sunday.  Ask: “What important question did Jesus ask His disciples?” (“Who do you say that I am?”)  Ask them how Peter answered that question (“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”).  Ask: “Why is that question so important?” (because if we don’t understand Christ’s true identity then we can’t be saved).

Direct the students’ attention to the words “Mistaken Identity” written on the board.  Ask: “Have you ever waved at someone in traffic and then realized the person was a total stranger?”  Tell the class a mistake like that can be very embarrassing.  Tell them the reason we make such mistakes is that we cannot see clearly; if we could see clearly, we would not wave at strangers.

Tell the students that even though the disciples had spent much time with Jesus, heard His teaching, and seen His miracles, they still didn’t really understand who He was.  Peter’s answer to Jesus’ question in last week’s lesson shows they were getting close, but they still hadn’t seen Jesus for who He truly is.

Tell the class in today’s lesson a group of the disciples will get the privilege of seeing Jesus for who He really is.  The title of today’s lesson is Seeing Jesus for Who He Really Is.  We are going to examine the changes that should take place when believers see Jesus for who He really is.



  1. Review.
    • Be sure everyone present has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (important questions).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verses (Matt. 16:15-16).
  2. Jesus Revealed His Glory.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 17:1-3.
    • Tell the class Jesus took Peter, James, and John up into a high mountain away from the rest of the disciples.
    • Ask: “What happened?” (Jesus was transfigured; Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Him).
    • Explain the following:
      • Some of Jesus’ divine glory was manifested to the disciples (they could not have survived a complete manifestation).
      • His face and clothing glowed like the sun.
      • Moses and Elijah represented the Law and the Prophets.
      • The appearance of Moses and Elijah with Jesus confirmed His identity as the Messiah who was prophesied in both the Law and the Prophets.
      • The Law and the Prophets agreed that Jesus was the Son of God.
      • Jesus, Moses, and Elijah talked together about Jesus’ upcoming death in Jerusalem (see Luke 9:31).
    • Read Matthew 17:4.
    • Ask: “What did Peter say about this amazing experience?” (he wanted to build tabernacles and remain there).
    • Tell the students that Peter, James, and John got the privilege of seeing Jesus for who He really is: Almighty God in human flesh.
    • Explain that a tabernacle was a place of worship.
    • Stress the fact that when we get a glimpse of Jesus’ power, majesty, and glory, we ought to worship Him.
    • Read Matthew 17:5.
    • Ask: “What did the disciples hear?” (God speaking audibly from heaven).
    • Ask the students to name the three things God said about Jesus (this is my beloved Son; I am pleased with and approve of Him; you should listen to and accept what He says).
    • Read Matthew 17:6-9.
    • Ask: “How did the disciples react to God’s voice?” (they fell on their faces in fear).
    • Tell the class Jesus came to them and told them not to fear.
    • Ask: “What else did Jesus tell them?” (don’t tell anyone about this vision until after I have risen from the dead).
    • Summarize: When Jesus revealed His glory to Peter, James, and John, they fell on their faces in reverent worship.
  3. Jesus Explained His Mission.
    • Tell the students that Jesus and His disciples were still in the region of Galilee (locate on the Map of Judea and Galilee).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 17:22-23.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus tell His disciples?” (that He would be betrayed, killed, and then rise again the third day).
    • Ask: “How did the disciples react to this news?” (they were very sad).
    • Tell the class this is the third of five times in Matthew that Jesus clearly told His disciples His mission on earth was to suffer and die (Matt. 16:21; 17:12, 22-23; 20:18-19, 28).
    • Explain that the First Century Jews were expecting their Messiah to come as a conquering hero who would drive out the hated Romans and establish His kingdom here on earth. They did not expect Him to suffer and die.
    • Summarize: When Jesus explained that His mission was to suffer, die, and rise again, they were shocked and saddened.
  4. Jesus Told How to Redeem a Sinning Brother.
    • Explain the following:
      • The disciples were beginning to grasp who Jesus really was.
      • Peter, James, and John worshiped Jesus when they saw His glory.
      • Jesus revealed His mission on earth.
      • The next two passages we will study reveal some things we should do if we have seen Jesus for who He really is.
    • Read Matthew 18:15.
    • Tell the class these verses tell how to redeem a sinning brother (note verse 15: “if thy brother shall trespass against thee”).
    • Ask: “What is the first thing we should do if a fellow Christian sins against us?” (go to him privately and confront him about his sin).
    • Ask: “What is the goal of this one-on-one meeting?” (to redeem the brother and restore him to fellowship with you and the church).
    • Read Matthew 18:16.
    • Ask: “What is the second step?” (take one or two others with you and go back to talk to the sinning brother a second time).
    • Read Matthew 18:17.
    • Ask: “What is the third step?” (take the matter before the church).
    • Ask: “What should we do if the sinning brother refuses to hear the church?” (treat him like a lost man).
    • Explain the following:
      • The desired goal of this process is not punishment.
      • The goal is to restore the sinning brother and get him back in fellowship with the church.
      • Even if the sinning brother is put out of the church, the prayer of the church should continue to be that God will convict and restore him.
    • Summarize: Those who have seen Jesus for who He really is should desire to redeem other believers who sin.
  5. Jesus Showed Why We Should Forgive Others.
    • Tell the class that Peter came to Jesus with a question.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 18:21-22.
    • Ask: “What did Peter ask?” (how many times he must forgive a brother who sinned against him).
    • Ask: “What was Jesus’ answer?” (forgive as many times as the brother confesses).
    • Stress the fact that this truth is illustrated in God’s forgiveness of us: God forgives us as often as we confess our sins (1 John 1:9).
    • Tell the students Jesus then told a parable to show why we should forgive others.
    • Read Matthew 18:23-35.
    • Ask: “What do you think Jesus wants us to learn from this parable?” (since Christians have been forgiven so much by God, we ought to be willing to forgive fellow believers when they trespass against us).
    • Summarize: Those who have seen Jesus for who He really is realize how much they have been forgiven and willingly forgive others.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that seeing Jesus for who He really is should make several important changes in our lives:

  • First, we should want to worship
  • Secondly, we should care enough about our brothers and sisters in Christ to try to correct and restore them when they sin.
  • Third, we should be willing to forgive fellow believers because Jesus has forgiven us so much.

Ask the following questions:

“Have you ever really accepted Jesus for who He is?”

“While you haven’t seen Jesus’ glory with your eyes, have you accepted the fact that He is the eternal God of the universe and the Savior who came to suffer and die for your sins?”

“Most importantly, have you ever trusted Jesus for salvation?”

Tell the students if they have done that, then they should desire to worship Jesus Christ.  They should have a desire to redeem sinning brothers and sisters.  They should also be willing to forgive others because Christ has forgiven them so much.

Ask the following questions:

“Do you want to worship Jesus, or would you rather be somewhere else on Sundays and Wednesdays?”

“Do you try to restore sinning brothers and sisters, or do you prefer to gossip about them?” 

“Are you willing to forgive others, or are you more inclined to hold a grudge?”

Tell the students their answers to those questions can indicate whether they have ever truly met Christ.  Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Encourage any who have never been saved to turn to Jesus right now.  Encourage those who are saved to make personal commitments to live this week by the principles they’ve learned in today’s lesson.  Voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Remind the students that those who have seen Jesus for who He really is should worship Him, try to restore sinning brothers, and be willing to forgive.  Encourage everyone to do those things this week.

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