Can’t Die But Once

Can’t Die But Once

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Matthew 10:28

Born into slavery and badly treated as a young girl, Harriet Tubman (c. 1822–1913) found a shining ray of hope in the Bible stories her mother told. The account of Israel’s escape from slavery under Pharaoh showed her a God who desired freedom for His people.

Harriet found freedom when she slipped over the Maryland state line and out of slavery. She couldn’t remain content, however, knowing so many were still trapped in captivity. So she led more than a dozen rescue missions to free those still in slavery, dismissing the personal danger. “I can’t die but once,” she said.

May we find our peace and purpose in You, Lord.

Harriet knew the truth of the statement: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matt. 10:28). Jesus spoke those words as He sent His disciples on their first mission. He knew they would face danger, and not everyone would receive them warmly. So why expose the disciples to the risk? The answer is found in the previous chapter. “When he saw the crowds, [Jesus] had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (9:36).

When Harriet Tubman couldn’t forget those still trapped in slavery, she showed us a picture of Christ, who did not forget us when we were trapped in our sins. Her courageous example inspires us to remember those who remain without hope in the world.

May we find our peace and purpose in You, Lord, and share You with others.

True freedom is found in knowing and serving Christ.


The passage we are reading today explores the likelihood of persecution for those who profess faith in Christ. We are encouraged by the certain future judgment of God when everything done on Earth will be disclosed (vv. 26–27). Meanwhile, Christ admonishes us not to fear the harm man can do to us but rather to fear God (v. 28). Then our Lord points to God’s care for even the smallest of creatures and tells us we are much more valuable than they are (vv. 29–31). If God cares for the sparrow, how much more will He care for us. Persecution will one day end, and we will receive God’s eternal reward.

By Tim Gustafson

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