Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ… Matthew 11:2
The disciples of John reported all these things to him. —Luke 7:18
Today I will be spending all day at the State Prison meeting with men for discipleship. Personally, I cannot imagine living in this place. I know of men who have been behind those walls of concrete for 30 years. As I have been moving around the planet to various countries, these men have never moved from behind those walls. I have heard people talk about those in prison like they have it made because they get a place to sleep and meals— all they need to live. Though their needs are met to survive— can you imagine living all those years behind those bars, wire, brick and concrete barriers?
Yet, Jesus makes it clear that the gospel is to go out into the entire world, including prisons (Matthew 25:36, 43). In the above verses we can see that John the Baptist’s disciples went to John when he was thrown in prison by Herod (Luke 3:20). They keep John informed about Jesus and when John had doubts about Jesus he sent his disciples to Jesus with questions. Jesus told John’s disciples to return and “report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me” (Luke 7:22-23). This surely brought encouragement to John because this is a description of what the Christ, the Messiah, would be doing (Luke 4:16-21) as stated from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2).
According to Galatians 3:23-25 the whole world is in prison, locked up until they come to faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:19). Imagine the planet with prison bars all around it. Only those who know Jesus are set free. All others are in bondage. Oh, they may think they are free, but they are about as free as a lion in the zoo. The lion walks freely, but there are boundaries it cannot pass. Those who have not trusted Jesus are also walking freely, but there are boundaries they cannot pass. They cannot know God (even though many say they can, they cannot without a relationship with Jesus), they cannot serve God, and they cannot live for God, after death they cannot go to be with God. So many people have the assumption that if they are religious or just be good enough then that will get them to heaven. They are wrong! Jesus is the only way (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). He is the only One who took the penalty for our sin and He is the only One who could because sin is an eternal issue and it took Someone, Jesus, who is eternal to resolve the problem. He took our sin and gives us His righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21). This is the only way to know God and go to heaven when we die.
We who know Jesus have been set free! Oh, may we live faithfully for Him who took away our prison that we could truly live. May we also encourage others to come out of their prison by trusting Jesus. May it be so!
Dear Father, thank You for setting me free from the prison and bondage I used to live in. Thank You for allowing me to know the Lord Jesus and to serve Him. My desire is to be faithful to Him above all. May it be so.