“But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:27).
After the miracle of feeding the five thousand, Jesus had been alone praying when His disciples joined Him. Jesus asked, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God'” (Luke 9:18-20).
Jesus knew people would be talking about the miracle. But who did they think performed it?
Peter answered correctly, but then Jesus warned them to tell no one, saying, “There are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”
The first time I studied this, I thought “What did Jesus mean? His disciples died a long time ago and we are still waiting to see the kingdom of God.” But I lacked revelation. I assumed He was speaking of heaven, but in actuality, He was referring to retrieved authority.
In the beginning, when Adam sinned, the authority and dominion God had given man was transferred to Satan. Jesus came to retrieve this authority. The Bible says, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). After the miracle of feeding the multitudes, Jesus said, “I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the [retrieved authority] of God.” He was speaking of His victory at the cross. It was drawing near.
This is proven in another context of scripture. “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. As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:28-31).
This passage is often referred to as the Transfiguration. As He prayed and talked with His two visitors, the countenance of Jesus changed this day. But what’s more interesting is their use of the words “decease” and “accomplish” in the same sentence. The words “endure” or “suffer” might seem more appropriate, but not the word accomplish, right?
Wrong. “But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the [retrieved authority] of God.” His disciples didn’t understand. Then a week later, a couple of cheerleaders from heaven encouraged Jesus of what was about to take place. Moses and Elijah spoke with Him about His coming death, which was about to be ACCOMPLISHED at Jerusalem. Their mission was to encourage our Savior, for He was about to retrieve authority for all humanity for all time! His death on the cross, as hard as it might be in the flesh, was going to be a great victory for God and man.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “…for the joy that was set before Him [He] endured the cross].” In other words, He looked ahead at the victory that would be accomplished. He wasn’t focused on the cross itself, or the pain of the moment. Instead, His focus was on the resurrection!
This passage says He “endured the cross” which is absolutely true. But Moses and Elijah came to remind Him of His purpose—He was about to accomplish the greatest victory that has ever been or ever will be! The cross wasn’t going to be easy, and God didn’t want His Son to lose heart, so He sent these messengers to remind Him His coming decease would be a great victory.
No wonder His countenance changed! “As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.” Our countenance changes too when our focus and meditation is on the right thing (our victory in Christ).
So be encouraged today! God has rallied all of heaven behind you and I that we might run with endurance the race that is set before us. Remember, we are of those who have not tasted death, yet have seen the retrieved authority of God—for JESUS HAS RISEN!