The Kingdom of God is At Hand

Matthew 17:1-2

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.

This story of the mount of transfiguration is really amazing to me. Why I find it interesting is that most people fail to connect the previous verse with these two verses. The previous verse points out something interesting. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (v16:28).

Most people associate “coming in his Kingdom” as that day when he returns to Earth to rapture his church. But, this is a bit of an enigmatic response: “there are some standing here who will not taste death until…” Maybe Jesus wasn’t referring to his second coming. Maybe he was referring to the next couple of verses in Matthew 17: “And he was transfigured before them.”

I believe Jesus arrived at his Kingdom while still here on earth. Remember his words previously, “Repent of the Kingdom of God is at hand”. Those words “at hand” mean here now. The announcement of Jesus was the Kingdom has arrived. And those guys saw it.

Matthew 17:19-20

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Many people hear these words like, “If you can just work up enough faith, then prayers will be answered.” So, we fast, pray, tithe, do all the good things to work up our faith. But, that’s not what he was talking about here.

When you look up that word “faith”, it is simply the noun version of the word to believe. A more accurate word would be “belief”. Jesus was saying that what we believe, not what we do, has far more impact. Scripture later confirms that our belief needs to be in what Christ has done for us, and the fulfillment of the law resides in him, not in us. If we can believe that Christ has done it, then we will have what we ask.

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