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March 28, 2005

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

“I’m guilty.”
“Lord Jesus, you are innocent.”
“Remember me.”

These are the simple words of a sinner who faced his own guilt, recognized a holy God, and asked for help. They are the words of the repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus. The appeal of Easter for all of us is that in the only passage where an individual is actually promised a place in heaven, Jesus responds: “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” This promise is valid only because the man on the middle cross rose from the dead and defeated death. Jesus died on Friday and death died on Sunday.

I’ve spent many an Easter weekend over the last 20 years in prison. No, not as an inmate, but as part of a Christian ministry, accompanying Chuck Colson. We journeyed into the tombs of our society on the weekend each year that holds great meaning to those men and women behind bars who have come to know the One who promised paradise to the criminal who called on him.

Because society has issued sentences of condemnation to those in prison, their sin is publicly declared. With that help, many inmates genuinely see their need for a redeemer. It’s something many of us on the outside have a harder time admitting. As we complete another Easter weekend, it’s a recognition that can break chains far stronger than prison bars.

Posted by Jim at March 28, 2005 12:23 AM

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