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Not Taste Death Till They See


Matthew 16:28
“Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Mark 9:1
And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

Luke 9:27
But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.

As it was written, some of the disciples of Jesus saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom before they died. They did! It happened immediately after the above three verses!

Let’s read again these three passages in their Biblical contexts: 

Matthew 16:24 to 17:1-2

Take Up the Cross and Follow Him

16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Jesus Transfigured on the Mount

17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;

2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

Mark 8:34-9:1-3

Take Up the Cross and Follow Him

8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

9:1 And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

Jesus Transfigured on the Mount

2 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.

3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 

Luke 9:23-29

Take Up the Cross and Follow Him

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?

26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.

27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”

Jesus Transfigured on the Mount

28 Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray.

29 As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.

In these three gospel accounts, Jesus taught His disciples what true discipleship was. He told them, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”  

Before He taught them, He gave them His own example. Jesus disclosed to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer many things, be killed, and be raised from death the third day.

Matthew 16:21-23

21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

However at this point in time, Peter apparently didn't understand Jesus. He had a different opinion of what Jesus should do. He strongly objected to what Jesus was about to do. Jesus in turn rebuked Satan and reprimanded Peter for being an offense to Him and being mindful of the things of men. Peter in his prideful heart wanted to have the kingdom now!

This scenario set up Jesus’ discourse on true discipleship.

Jesus explained that when He returns with His angels, there will be a final judgment and everyone will be held accountable for what they have done. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. The Lord will reward each according to his works.

Then Jesus told them that some of them would not taste death till they saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. They would not die till they had a foretaste of the kingdom of God. They would not die till they had a foretaste of glory divine!

Three of His disciples, Peter, John, and James saw the glory of His kingdom on the Mount of Transfiguration.

In both of the Matthew and Mark accounts, it was recorded “after six days.” But in the Luke account, it was “about eight days.” The phrases “after six days” and “about eight days” could simply mean the same duration of time – one week.

These three disciples saw Jesus shining in glory. The appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. His glory showed through His human nature and even His earthly clothes. The three disciples witnessed and saw the glory of the kingdom of God!

Peter again made the same mistake at the Mount of Transfiguration. He wanted to have the glory of the kingdom of God now!

Matthew 17:3-8

3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.

7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”

8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

After seeing Jesus glorified and witnessing the presence of Moses and Elijah, Peter thought the kingdom of God had arrived. Peter wanted to build them three tabernacles. But that was not God’s desire! God declared to them, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

Many years later, Peter recalled and described this glorious event in 2 Peter 1:16-18:

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

John remembered this wonderful encounter as he wrote John 1:14:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Some years later in the island of Patmos, God opened up the future and revealed to John even more about the glory of the kingdom of God in Revelation 1:12-18:

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,

13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;

15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;

16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.

18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

Today, many Christians want to have His kingdom now, having dominion now! We are living in this adulterous and sinful generation!

Very few of us desire to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ. Very few of us desire to serve others. Many of us want to invade and lord over others! To have dominion over others! In wanting to save our life, we will lose it. But if we give up our life for Christ, we will find it. What will we gain, if we own the whole world but lose ourselves? What will we give in exchange for our souls?

A true disciple of Christ is a servant, not a salesman. He is not trying to market or sell Christ! He will not con anyone. He believes in Jesus, worships Jesus, serves Jesus, follows Jesus, obeys Jesus, and is even willing to suffer for Jesus. He does not indulge in vainglory and other false glories.

Mark 9:33-35

Who Is the Greatest?
33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” 

34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 

35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

When we are His faithful servants, God may give us a glimpse and a foretaste of the glory of His kingdom. Some of us may also see the glory of His kingdom!

Amos 3:7
Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

Therefore, we will remember His words of encouragement as we pray daily, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”


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Written on 18 March 2014