Seeking the Kingdom of God | Mark 8:38–9:1

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
And he 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.”

Sometimes, chapter breaks are helpful.  They were added to the Bible in the Middle Ages to help readers easily navigate Scripture.  Sometimes, though, it’s tough to tell if whether those breaks occur in the best places.  In this case, it seems that this text transitions from speaking of complete commitment as a disciple to the power present in the kingdom of God, teaching us why and how we can seek first the kingdom (cf. Mt 6:33).

The kingdom of God has a future of power.  Despite the current state of our Lord, the disciples dare not think that there isn’t a glory to come.  There approaches a day of terror for all those who have opposed the kingdom purposes, when Jesus comes not meek and lowly, when God’s wrath is meet out by His holy angels.  Those who call themselves disciples today finding themselves ashamed of Christ and His Word will be associated with unbelievers.

The kingdom of God has a present of power.  The disciples of Christ today may wonder when this power is to be realized.  As Jesus reveals in His transfiguration (9:2–8), the power of the kingdom is already at hand (cf. 1:14–15).  He further proved this at His resurrection (cf. Rm 1:4), which gives us the power to live kingdom principles today and ensures our future citizenship (cf. 1 Cor 6:14; Phil 3:10; Eph 1:19–20).

This means that the suffering we experience in this life for the sake of the kingdom is temporary and surmountable.  Even in death, we have the power to overcome the temptations and persecutions of this life in the present power of Christ (cf. 2 Pt 1:3–4).  We also know that there fast-approaches a day when Christ will establish His visible kingdom, which He will eventually turn over to the Father.  When we seek first His kingdom, we know that “there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pt 1:11).

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