And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” Mark 9, verse 1.
You and me: we should be dead by now. You know it as well as I do that, to paraphrase the apostle, we face death all day long. Every day that we make it to work safely is a miracle. Ditto waking up, digesting food, staying healthy from disease, nurturing a beating heart, and sleeping through the night. Some might say those are simply the outcomes of impossible to predict random acts of chance and interaction. I say they’re mini miracles that testify to the existence of God in the very details of our lives.
So how astounding is it that God Himself would say that some of those to whom He was speaking would soon see an astounding miracle promised for centuries. That isn’t some miniature detail anyone would overlook. It was a big deal, yet Jesus threw it down and, in context of what came next, it was prophetic.
Here’s another throw-down: it’ll happen to you today as well.
Huh? First some of that context. Keep in mind where Jesus was. He has just fed four thousand men, healed a blind man, (yet again) confronted the Pharisees, upbraided His friends, predicted His own death, and told people to get on His level regarding what they should expect from their faith in Him. Now He’s saying that not only will people who believe in Him die but that, before they do, they will see God coming in power. As we will see, shortly after this comes the Transfiguration and that display of power Jesus promised.
In my opinion, He also promised a different kind of power to us every day.
Are you thinking about Thor and his hammer? Or Zeus smiting puny men with thunderbolts from Olympus? Sauron marching to crush Middle Earth with a million ugly orcs? Or perhaps a vengeful Allah vanquishing all enemies of Islam with his priestly army of fanatics? These are the images of god-like beings wielding power that come to mind when we humans are left to our own devices. We think of power as the omnipotent use of force, of the physical being overtaken by the meta-physical, of forces beyond our control or understanding manipulating our lives from a position of strength.
Except that’s not how Jesus worked. Or works now. See, He promised the Disciples that He would display His power, and a few days hence He did. Yet He also promises us the same thing every day. I believe He delivers on that promise, and I see it in the majesty of sunsets, in the feel of my grandson hugging me around my neck. I feel it in my beating heart, in the love of my family as we sit at the kitchen table, as I work in my garden where God gives me vocation and food. I see it at work in how He comforts distraught friends, how He turns around destruction to expand His kingdom of goodness, and how He works quietly through we sinful humans by our spreading word about Him. Do you know Jesus? Then you know Him in power and miracles.
I think it’s a miracle that we’re still alive to talk about this, given all the ways the world could kill us every day. Turn to Jesus and you see it really is.
Lord, thank You for Your miracles and power in my life.
Read Mark 9, verses 1-13.