Life or Death


Those of us who are parents have to fulfill the various roles of provider, protector, comforter, teacher, storyteller, fort-builder, advise-giver and encourager. Some roles are more pleasant than others. No one likes being the disciplinarian, rule-Nazi, curfew-guardian and boundary-enforcer. Jesus fulfilled the roles of Prophet, Priest and King. In today’s text, Jesus is fulfilling his role as Prophet – speaking the unvarnished, unpopular, non-intuitive truth to those who need it the most but desire it the least.

  • Which of Jesus’ teachings do you find difficult to accept?


21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What group of people is Jesus speaking to?
  2. Note the contrasts Jesus outlines between this group and himself in verse 23. What was Jesus driving at?
  3. Jesus was very clear about the only alternative to dying in your sin. What did he say?
  4. When did Jesus say his opponents would know who he was? What does this mean for those of us who have the advantage of looking backward to a specific event in history?
  5. Reread verse 30. How much must someone know about Jesus in order to believe in him? In the continuum between questioning and belief, where do you find yourself?


Salvation is a matter of life or death. Those who live in their sins – rejecting the Savior – must die in their sins. There’s no alternative. We either receive salvation by grace or experience condemnation under God’s law. Sounds harsh. It is. Nobody knows the harshness like the Prophet who suffered condemnation so he could offer grace as an alternative to anyone who ceases to oppose the truth and believe Jesus is who he claimed to be.

  • Pray for those you know who have yet to believe who Christ is.
  • Pray that, in fresh ways, you would experience “…the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:19