Even in jail cells, Jesus is there

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2003

In an unusual prison cell in Brazil lies an unusual prisoner.

The cell itself is worthy of note. It reeks of ghosts and if the walls could talk everyone passing by would cover their ears in pain. It was a cell where the instruments of torture were freely and expertly used on the worst of prisoners.

Now it is used solely to contain one prisoner, one unusual man, behind its massive door.

This unique place is itself in a unique prison.

This South American facility is run by Christians and founded on Christian principles. Their spirit has moved through the entire place. Inmates are often smiling and word has it they are at peace with others and, remarkably, often at peace with themselves. They keep their cells clean. They work hard. They have covered their walls with scriptures.

But things are not so in solitary confinement. One man is alone in the dark, in a cell unchanged by time.

And if you went to that prison, you might be escorted to that haunted place. You might stand, heart beating, as the heavy door creaks open.

Squint your eyes. Peer into the darkness.

There you will see him on the far side of the room. There, hanging on the wall, is a crucifix, carved by one of the inmates, and on it, Jesus, the most unusual prisoner who ever lived.

Says one of the inmates, "He's doing time for the rest of us."

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53, a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ and a word of hope for all who seek forgiveness and the face of God.

Rick Cupp is a minister at Kenai Fellowship, Mile 8.5 Kenai Spur Highway. Sunday Bible classes for all ages are at 10 a.m. and worship is at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday Bible classes and worship are at 7 p.m.

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