Confessing Christ to Someone Near Death

Someone in my parish asked, “Pastor, how do I confess Jesus Christ to someone dying in hospice?”  This is what I shared.

With someone in hospice, there’s no need to dance around the subject of death.  Most likely, the person knows something is seriously wrong with him and that he is dying.  See this as an opportunity that God is using to help make the person more willing to hear the Gospel.

1. Introduce yourself and why you are visiting.

2. Let the person know you want to tell him who Jesus Christ is.

3. Tell the person about our separation from God because of sin and the results of that separation.  Tell him that he is living in that reality, and that sickness and death are the natural consequences of our fallen condition.

4. Then tell him of Jesus and why He came and what He did: He lived a perfect life for us as God and man, and took our sins into Himself to give us His righteousness so we could be forever with God.  Jesus came to be the cure for our sin problem–but we don’t get to experience this healing in its fullness until after we physically die.

5. Then say something like, “Jesus came to bring you healing and life even after you die.  Trust in what Jesus did for you, for it’s yours in Jesus Christ.” 

A. Remember, what Jesus did is already an-accomplished fact, not an “opportunity” for the person.  So it’s already his, made real by God-given faith.  There’s no need to “sell” Jesus, simply tell who Jesus is and what He has done.  The Holy Spirit is the One who creates faith.

6. If the person is conscious and receives the Word, Jesus, then bring him to the waters of baptism.  If he is close to death, baptize him yourself, and then let me and Judy know so we can update our records in the church office.  If you think he has plenty of time, let me know and I’ll come to baptize him and share more of the Word with him.  If he is near death, step into the Office of the Holy Ministry and baptize.

7. Then pray if you desire, whether the person is conscious or not conscious.  Pray that God will watch over him in life and in death, and that what Jesus did and does to save him will remain strong within him, even into eternity.

This isn’t any pat formula. We simply confess who Jesus is in the setting we find ourselves in.