January 1st, 2002
Matt 16:28 “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (KJV)
“There is nothing good that I can say about this,” I said turning to my wife. This was last June as I stood in front of a casket and wept. Ron, My best friend from childhood, lay stiff and cold, freed from the pain of this world. But to what?
In Matthew 16:28, Jesus was conducting one of His marvelous, but sometimes confounding teaching sessions with his disciples. In verse 28, He said, “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
What does death taste like? To us, the living, it is a bitter gall…cold…chilling cold. Indeed, to those left behind, even in the passing of an aged, infirmed parent or friend, death has this bitter taste…and it has a lingering taste.
Weeks, months and years later we sip the memories of the death of our loved ones, and to us the taste is too often quite rancid.
But death tastes differently to different people. Ron’s death was very bitter as it is likely he is spending eternity separated from God, having died in abject sin without Christ’s gift of salvation.
A year earlier I stood at the bedside of my father and held his hand as he breathed his last earthly breathe… His death tasted different to me than Ron’s. I wept because I lost my father, and the tears tasted bitter, of course, but the balm of Christ’s redemption sweetened the taste…Amidst the bitterness of death came the sweetness of life in heaven… Dad walked with Christ…
Jesus said that to some standing and listening to Him that very day, they would not taste of death. How can that be? We know that all of His disciples died a physical death, and some died painful, violent deaths.
Aha! Every one of them saw “…the Son of man coming in his kingdom…” on the day of Jesus’ resurrection…
Imagine the taste His death had left in their mouths as they hid in fear, wondering what it was all about… Then to see Him! To taste life reborn as the Christ of God stood in His new body in their presence! What a grand, sweet taste that must have been!
Jesus told the woman at the well that He would give her living water…It would bring her eternal life with Him… In John we read of Jesus offering the bread of life to His followers…Bread that tasted sweet and filled the spiritual cavity of those who chose to taste it….
So I say to you, taste the living water; taste the bread of life; taste and see that the Lord, He is good…. And unlike Ron, be sure that you can behold the Kingdom of God, by tasting of His Son, the Savior, Jesus Christ…
Then you can say with Paul, Oh death where is thy sting? Death has no bitter taste to the believer because death is swallowed up in victory!
The taste of death
Author - Speaker - teacher