For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Matthew 16: 27 – 28
This is a confusing passage. It seems like Jesus is suggesting that the end times will come within the lifetime of his disciples. In fact it’s known that many of the first disciples believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime. But of course we know that did not happen. 200 years have passed and Jesus has yet to return. So either Jesus made a mistake, or the disciples didn’t understand what Jesus meant.
When they imagine the Son of Man coming in his kingdom, they probably assumed a warrior coming to liberate Israel, who would be crowned in Jerusalem as King of Israel. As it turned out Jesus was crowned as King in Jerusalem, but not in power and glory. Jesus was crowned with a crown of thorns, not hail but mocked as ‘King of the Jews’. Yet on the Cross Jesus did become a King, not a conqueror but a Servant giving his life for many.
Throughout history there has been a cycle of one Empire following another. Persia conquered Babylon, Rome overtook Greece, Britain surpassed Spain and Portugal, and now America and China via for supremacy. And throughout it all there has been a feeling of “Meet the new boss same as the old boss”. Jesus wasn’t interested in that, when he established his Kingdom it would be something truly different. Not exploitative but generous. Based on love not fear. And existing not to control other but to serve them.
The Son of Man did come in his Kingdom, and it looked like a God willing to give his life for the sake of others
Prayer: King Jesus, thank you that you showed us a different way of doing things, one based on serving others and putting their needs first. Help us to seek your Kingdom by acting out of love and compassion.
Act: Whose needs can you put first today?