Jesus told His apostles that some of them would be alive when He comes into His kingdom. What did He mean?

Specifically, in Matthew 16:28, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” It is difficult to determine precisely what Jesus is referring to in this passage and many have interpreted it to mean the Second Coming which is to occur at the Parousia – at the end of time. The problem with that interpretation, however, is that the Parousia did not occur in that generation and has not yet occurred! To understand what Jesus is talking about, we need to pay attention to the fact that he is speaking here only to his disciples and not to a large audience. He is indicating that some of them will see him in all of his glory as he will be revealed at the time of the Parousia. The very next scene, then, is the Transfiguration, in which Peter, James, and John, do indeed receive a glimpse of Jesus in all his glory – the same glory that will be revealed to all at the coming of his kingdom.

Joe Paprocki

Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including The Bible Blueprint, Living the Mass, and bestsellers The Catechist's Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith (all from Loyola Press).