Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
Comment: Yesterday I mentioned that people were beginning to question as to who Jesus was. Here we see Jesus facing his disciples and enquiring as to whom others thought he was. They said ‘John the Baptist’ – but he was dead; ‘Elijah’ the name given in the Old Testament to the one who was to precede the Messiah; Or a resurrected old time prophet. But then He asked the direct question, one with which we all get faced, ‘what about you?’ Peter, probably answering for all of them, declared ‘the Christ of God’, in other words the Messiah.
The rest of the community had to work it out for themselves. Jesus said in the strongest terms possible that the disciples were not to tell anyone. Jesus gave them the reason. In light of his miracles the community would have wanted to take Jesus and to press him into their mould of a conquering, providing Messiah. He clearly stated that his path led another way. His way was to be rejection, death but followed by the resurrection.
Talking about death, in the way he did, would have brought to the disciples’ minds ‘crucifixion’ – which was the way rebels (he was to be rejected) were dealt with in that era in Judea. When he said that following him would mean taking up their cross it must have sent a shudder up their spines. What Jesus said after that makes reading the small print that follows very necessary reading.
At the end is a sentence which we can only hope makes sense in what follows! “Some of you who are standing here won’t die until after they’ve seen ‘the kingdom of God'”. What does he mean?
Prayer: May I discern the meaning, if/when the story reveals, the truth or falseness of this claim.