What does it mean some “shall not taste death” (Matthew 16:28)?

SHARE

By BibleAsk Team


“Shall Not Taste Death”

In Matthew 16:28, Jesus makes a profound declaration to his disciples, saying, “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.” This statement has sparked hope and joy among the disciples.

Interpretation of Matthew 16:28

All the three Synoptic Gospels record the narrative of the Transfiguration immediately following this prediction. There is no break in the narrative—no chapter or verse division in the Greek original—and furthermore all three mention the fact that the Transfiguration occurred about a week after this statement, implying that the event was the fulfillment of the prediction.

The connection between the two sections of narrative seems to preclude the possibility that Jesus in Matthew 16:28 referred to anything but the Transfiguration, which was a miniature demonstration of the kingdom of glory.

After 6 days, Jesus takes Peter, James and John, up on the mountain apart by themselves, and He is transfigured before them.  His clothes become shining exceeding white like snow and Elijah appear to them with Moses and they talk to Jesus.

Moses represents those who died and are resurrected (Jude 9).  Elijah represents those who are translated without seeing death (2 Kings 2:11).  God the Father came in a cloud and said, ‘This is my Beloved Son.’  What the disciples experience is a miniature picture of the Second Coming

Jesus says I’m going to give you a preview, before you die, of my Kingdom coming.  And that’s what happened on that mountain. By giving them a glimpse of His kingdom, the Lord wanted to comfort His disciples to endure the severe pain they were going to have during His crucifixion.

And Peter understands it that way. For he declars: “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. 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.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:16–18).

Practical Application for the Believers

a. Faith and Hope: Matthew 16:28, the passage underscores the themes of faith and hope in God’s promises. Believers are called to trust in the sovereignty of God’s timing and the certainty of his redemptive plan, even in the face of uncertainty and adversity.

b. Transcendent Reality: The Transfiguration serves as a potent reminder of the transcendent reality of God’s kingdom, which breaks into human history in unexpected and transformative ways. Christians are called to live in anticipation of the coming kingdom, bearing witness to the presence and power of Christ in the world.

c. Discipleship and Mission: Jesus’ exhortation to take up the cross and follow him resonates with believers today, calling them to embrace sacrificial love, humility, and obedience in their discipleship journey. As bearers of the gospel, Christians are commissioned to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom and invite others into the abundant life found in Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

In Matthew 16:28, Jesus’ declaration that “there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” encapsulates the majesty of God’s redemptive plan. Christ’s declaration points to the Transfiguration as a miniature of the Second Coming and it invites believers to contemplate the profound truths of God’s kingdom and to live in anticipation of its fulfillment.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

We'd love your feedback, so leave a comment!

If you feel an answer is not 100% Bible based, then leave a comment, and we'll be sure to review it.
Our aim is to share the Word and be true to it.