Jesus seems to have talked in circles. He said something in Mark 9:1 that has confounded people for a long time. It doesn’t seem to make sense. The way it’s usually translated is like this: And [Jesus] said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
Most people, including myself until now, believe the kingdom of God isn’t going to come until after they die. How could Jesus say some of his disciples would see the kingdom BEFORE they died? And it will have come with power!
There’s an easy answer. I won’t say it’s a mistranslation, however, it could have been translated another way for us to understand.
First of all, you have to understand that the kingdom of God is not about “life-after-you-die.” The kingdom of God is a today thing. It took me 181 pages to explain it in this book. I’ll give you the last page cliff note here. When Jesus said the kingdom of God is at hand, he meant, “The creative, driving force toward harmony and the working together of all things is at hand.” Once you understand this, a lot of things change in interpretation.
What about “coming with power?” The Greek word for “power” is dunamis. The official definition from a Greek concordance is this—
natural capability, inherent power; capability of anything, ability to perform anything; then, absolutely, not merely power capable of action, but, power in action.
Not power as in “strength” or “great force.” Power in action.
There would be some disciples that would not taste death until they had seen the creative driving force toward harmony and unity come in, with, and through the actions of people laying down their lives for the benefit of others.
Now that I’ve become a hospice volunteer, I’m meeting other volunteers who’ve been giving up a few hours of their lives each week (and doing it for years!) to serve patients and families in a time of need. The volunteers keep saying, “I get more out of this than the people I’m trying to help.”
If you look at the verses that preceded and set up his statement, Jesus had been telling them that they would gain their lives if they deny themselves and take up their crosses to follow him (his example). “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
You give up your life by serving others rather than serving yourself. God’s power put into action in/with/through your hands. And it brings the kingdom of God to others. Peace, hope, love, harmony to their body, mind, and spirit.
Ultimately, you’ll reap what you sow. When you bring the kingdom to others, you will reap it yourself, bringing a greater quality of life to you than any amount of money or fame could ever do.
The Kingdom of God comes in/with/through your actions.