This morning the prison's chapel
was full. We had an unusually large turnout for the service, including some new men who recently transferred here from
Anyhow, as I took my place behind the pulpit in order to
open the service and begin our time of worship, I reminded the congregation that Jesus' desire is to "save sinners," and how
that for the past two thousand years His mission has not changed . He has come to "seek" and to "save" that which
The religious rulers of His day, however, could not understand
why such a person who claimed to be the Messiah would bother to eat with, and in their eyes, defile Himself with the outcasts
These self-righteous leaders and "model citizens", I told
the men, were obviously blind to God's love and mercy, because, according to the Bible, Jesus came to die for those
who have sinned. He came to earth and lived a sinless life, and He willingly paid for our sins with His own blood.
May I say, therefore, that throughout the centuries since the
Lord Jesus walked this earth, not much has changed in the way of attitudes. While Christ still seeks for the lost, the
self-righteous continue to point their fingers and criticize.
They cannot comprehend what God sees in criminals, homeless
people, prostitutes, or the poor.
But God sees the bigger picture, I explained. He sees
the results of a cleansed, forgiven and changed life.
Unfortunately many of the so called "good people" of society
are living a lie.
I said this because, as the Scriptures state, there are
really none who are good. "All have sinned and come short of God's perfect standard." (Romans 3:23).
So if there is someone who thinks he has his life all together,
I told the men, and if he looks down on those whose bad deeds are in the open,
he is in the worst predicament of all. Why? Because he is proud and self-deceived. He thinks he's done nothing
seriously wrong. And he does not grieve over his sins.
Meanwhile, in prison cells across the world, or on street
corners where prostitutes gather, the gospel is being preached and those "outcasts" are repenting and believing.
Those who are in such a wretched condition are eager for
help, hope, and mercy. While those who are prosperous and successful in life often see little need for God or to seek
Plus, like the proud religious leaders during the days of
Christ, they looked down on everyone else. Such people are spiritually
blind, and this is sad.
But if we understand the gospel, we can know that God
loves us. He has redeemed all who have placed their faith in Jesus, whether they have criminal records or not.
What an amazing God!
(c) 2005 David Berkowitz